Marlo: Are there new ways to fund drug development?
Professor David Baker: Oh, no, not really. I think there are new ways to kind of kick-start it and maybe that’s where crowd funding might come in. The question is, is whether crowd funding could ever provide enough money to actually develop a drug. So to develop an MS drug for relapse MS costs about a billion or two billion dollars. So, you know, you need a lot of crowds to do that, but it may kick-start the initiation of a programme that allows you to get work to be done which then interests the pharmaceutical company to start testing in that way. And we’ve just kind of done some crowd funding within the group, so it’s an interesting model. We’ll see if it can donate a lot of cash, I suspect not, but you know, it allows the community to engage in a way as well, so we’ll see.
Marlo: Do you think if it doesn’t create the amount of money perhaps needed that at least it will create more awareness?
Professor David Baker: Well, it does. I think it can kick-start. I mean there are some amazing ways of actually funding things. I mean I suppose the best ones have been the ALS, motor neurone disease. In fact we saw a video, there was an Australian comedian playing a piano with an orchestra and the orchestra just kind of died off bit by bit, and that raised something like five million dollars in a day. So there are ways that it can, it’s just nobody knows how to make things go viral.
You know, when you, like the ice bucket thing, if you get the right message and it touches enough people, then who knows, you know? Or maybe you get a few celebrities involved. It’s an untapped resource, at the end of the day. You know, for many years people have been donating money, but they’ve been donating money to the charities who’ve then administered where the money goes. This is a way of actually taking them out of the equation and people donating to where they want it to go. And that gives us, I guess, people power at the end of the day. Because there are things that you as a community want to be investigated and it doesn’t seem to get investigated and maybe that’s a way to actually get things answered to some extent.
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