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Dr. Martine Rothblatt on What Glaxo Wellcome missed that opened the opportunity for her biotech venture

From Audio: #487: Dr. Martine Rothblatt — The Incredible Polymath of Polymaths

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station description Tim Ferriss is a self-experimenter and bestselling author, best known for The 4-Hou... read more
The Tim Ferriss Show
Duration: 03:58
The 3 major mistakes that Glaxo made (or facts they missed) that led Martine to obtaining the formula from them for a mere 25k and 10% of future revenue... And draws an interesting analogy to the Sirius XM opportunity. Good lessons here on the "subscriber mindset".
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The 3 major mistakes that Glaxo made (or facts they missed) that led Martine to obtaining the formula from them for a mere 25k and 10% of future revenue... And draws an interesting analogy to the Sirius XM opportunity. Good lessons here on the "subscriber mindset".
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What did they miss, right, What accidentally got deleted from the spreadsheet, or what assumption or assumptions were incorrect that they missed this opportunities so completely? I think they were probably like maybe three main ones, the first one. And I can say this kind of from first hand knowledge. Since I am now the head of a pharmaceutical company, the odds of anti molecule actually working in the human body are less than one and 100. I mean, the human body. It's so complicated. It's like a massive set of very precisely keyed locks. And every molecule is like a random key, and the chance that you would have a molecule that opened the lock that fix some dysfunction in the body rather than causing some harm to the body is it's less than one in 100. So first of all, they figured the chance of this thing working just in general was less than 100. Secondly, they thought to themselves, even if it worked a little bit. There's only 2000 people in the whole country with this disease. They didn't really think that if it worked really well, the number of people would keep accumulating. I see you're saying if you have thes people who would've died otherwise not dying than that treatment cohort is just going to grow and grow and grow. Is that what you mean, exactly? I thought about it like like I was getting subscribers at Sirius X M. You know, people said to me, 00 Martine, you'll be lucky to have 100,000 subscribers I said, Well, if I keep them again another 100,000 next year, then I'll be up to 200,000 and and then, you know, maybe 408 100,000. Now we have 30 million. So they didn't think in that subscriber mindset. Um, that was a second problem. The third problem is that they didn't really imagine that the health care system would pay something like $100,000 per year for this medicine. And at the time this was in the early to about 20 years ago. Early two thousands, I think, like the average price for an expensive medicine was perhaps $10,000 a year for patient or $10,000 for a course of treatment because of advances and things like precision medicine and gene therapy. There are many, many medicines now that cost over $100,000 a year, mostly for rare diseases, and the health care system pays for them. Because so few people have these diseases that even though the medicines are expensive, it's a drop in the bucket compared to diseases like hypertension or common illnesses, asthma that afflict tens of millions of people. So the health care system doesn't really mind paying a lot of money if it's a rare disease. And the people that Glaxo Welcome were clueless about this. They were actually looking for the big billion dollar blockbusters, not for the rare diseases. So those were there three omissions. They failed. They failed to be Alan Watson. You know, they failed to see that the that because something is big underneath. That means that there's something else that small on. That was what Alan Watts we always say. He says something is good on Lee because something else is bad. Mhm at the very least. I mean, it's a valuable thought exercise when you're looking at the assumptions that you're making and what an incredible story, just a quick thanks to one of our sponsors and we'll be right back to the show. This episode is brought to you by athletic greens. I get asked all the time what I would take if I could Onley take one supplement. The answer is invariably athletic greens. I view it as all in one nutritional insurance. I recommended it. In fact, in the four our body this is more than 10 years ago and I did not get paid to do so with approximately 75
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