From the Website:
“We’re something new in the cancer research world: an open source biotechnology venture that is member-owned and operated and not-for-profit.
We are working to create individualized therapies for breast cancer – also known as “personalized medicine”.
Our mission is to build a new drug development pipeline able to produce effective therapies faster for less money, without compromising safety.”
Basically this is a co-op to where $20.00 buys you in; however, tests and treatment are extra, but you get a spot to be able to participate as a patient. Breast cancer is the first target area and sequencing is the name of the game. Just as with software, “open source” biology and research in biotech could also change the name of the game and potentially bring new treatments and technology into a more affordable range. There are already a number of open source software programs available for research and development with genomics. BD
It seems safe to describe Andrew Hessel as an unbridled optimist. After all, he’s selling $20 shares in a journey towards a personalized cure for breast cancer, which he says could be feasible in the next few years.
Jim Wilson/The New York Times Andrew Hessel describes the Pink Army Cooperative as the first “biotech company that is owned by the people.”
Mr. Hessel serves as the managing director of the Pink Army Cooperative. This Canadian organization has set out to lower the cost of cancer treatments, while also making them more effective by embracing a new wave of synthetic biology technology (a field that was recently the subject of a piece in The New York Times Magazine).
While there are plenty of start-ups chasing this same, very challenging goal, Mr. Hessel has set up the first “biotech company that is owned by the people,” as he puts it.
A payment of 20 Canadian dollars (about 20 American dollars at current exchange rates) will buy you a spot in this cooperative. That fee entitles you to have access to the cancer cure created by the cooperative — if the organization can solve a host of massive technological, legal and economic issues first, of course. Breast cancer patients receiving the cure would also have to pay extra money for tests and treatment.
Under the Pink Army Cooperative’s plan, the group will start with one breast cancer patient. It will pay to sequence the DNA of her tumor and compare that to her overall DNA profile.
Then, the company would need to program a virus to hunt down the woman’s specific cancer cells.
“Five years ago, it would cost about $25 million for that kind of personalized therapy,” Mr. Hessel said. “Today, it would cost about $2 million.”