Is focusing on rare diseases becoming all too common?

03/14/2013 | Xconomy

As more drugmakers shift their focus to finding cures for rare and orphan diseases, research and associated funding on more common diseases might fall by the wayside, writes biopharma consultant Stewart Lyman. The 1983 Orphan Drug Act offered tax and regulatory incentives that encouraged research on long-neglected rare diseases, but society now faces a choice between funding research on diseases that affect a relative few versus diseases that affect the masses, Lyman writes. If drugmakers and publicly funded researchers collaborate on a large-scale project focused on repairing broken genes rather than attacking individual diseases, they might find treatments for both rare and common diseases, Lyman posits.

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