Is it time to send Big Pharma into orbit?

That’s what one Texas investor thinks. Thomas Pickens III, son of flamboyant oilman T. Boone Pickens, believes that Big Pharma needs to be propelled into outer space — not as punishment, but to do its job better.

Pickens says a pharmaceutical research center in space would enable Big Pharma to make breakthrough discoveries and create life-saving drugs. When in zero gravity, disease-causing proteins crystalize months, if not years, faster than on earth. According to Wired:

Scientists have known for decades that some science works better in space — but it hasn’t been easy to get experiments up there. Now, with NASA planning to reduce its $2.6 billion annual investment beginning in 2015, the agency is throwing the space station open for private enterprise. And the [Pickens] is ready to transform space science with an injection of capitalism.

Pickens went on to say, “If people knew what I already know, the International Space Station would be considered one of the most valuable resources our world possesses. There are things you can only do in microgravity that will eventually lead to products that could save millions of lives.”

What Pickens apparently doesn’t know is that Big Pharma has no incentive to cure disease — only manage it.

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Comments (1)

These are all great points as presented by Mr. Pickens and I have had an interest in microgravity and drugs that can be developed from data derived from space such as protein crystals. This is a very exciting field and very valuable. There was a note at the end of the last blog that said that Pharma was not interested in curing just managing diseases. This is true but what is also true is that drugs developed from microgravity are not expected to cure but to treat diseases confirming their motivation but clarifying the potential value to Pharma.

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