Bet 819

Duration 10 years (02020-02030)

“The startup biopharma company EQRx will not have developed and brought to market its projected ten drugs during its first ten years. This widely quoted statement is simply not realistic.”

Derek B Lowe


Lowe's Argument

EQRx hopes to reduce health care expenditures by producing fast-follower ("me-too") drugs and selling them for lower prices than existing medicines. The overall goal is laudable, but the plan is exposed to both business risk (whether such drugs can indeed compete on price) and scientific risk (whether new compounds can be developed quickly enough to make a difference versus patented drugs). The company has stated that advances in virtual screening and on-demand synthesis will allow it to take ten drugs to market in its first ten years. This is far too optimistic: drug discovery is subject to a variety of risks and constraints that are not addressed by this plan, if it is even feasible. Such overpromising is in fact harmful to the field.

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