All together now
Charities help Big Pharma
IT WAS once only drug firms that developed drugs. But this is changing. Take the case of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a Parkinson's disease charity. On April 19th it announced that it would pay for a clinical trial of a drug developed by Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical giant, that might treat the mental symptoms of the disease.
过去只有制药公司才开发药品，但这种情况正在改变。就拿Michael J. Fox基金会，一个帕金森病的慈善机构来说。此机构在4月19号宣布他们将为赛诺菲（Sanofi），法国的制药巨头，所研发的一种药物的临床试验买单，此药有可能用于治疗帕金森病的精神症状。
The deal is the latest sign of a broader shift—one that is driven by desperation. Patents on blockbuster drugs are expiring. Research and development (R&D) have grown less productive, with billions of dollars yielding only a trickle of drugs.
Some blame stringent regulators. Others grumble that big pharma firms are too bureaucratic. All agree that developing a new drug takes money (well over $1 billion) and time (over ten years in America). Whatever the cause, a shortfall in R&D has inspired a flood of new partnerships.
Charities have been particularly bold. Companies, beholden to shareholders, are loth to do things that might lose them money. Charities, by contrast, exist to give the stuff away. The leading "venture philanthropist" is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It has supported early research and clinical trials, small biotech firms and the biggest of Big Pharma companies, Pfizer. The foundation spent $75m on early research for Kalydeco, which in January became the first approved drug to target the mutated gene that causes cystic fibrosis. Kalydeco is owned by Vertex, a firm based in Massachusetts, but the foundation will get royalties from the drug's sales, which will then support further research. Other charities have followed the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's lead. The Fox Foundation, for example, has spent $289m on research.
慈善机构的参与尤其令人关注。受惠于股东的公司们的不作为可能会断送他们的资金来源。慈善机构，却相反，生来就是乐于施舍。囊肿性纤维化（Cystic Fibrosis）慈善基金是风险慈善的领头羊。此基金已对药物的早期研究，临床试验，小型生物科技公司和最大的生物制药公司辉瑞（Pfizer）给予资助。并且，投资7千5百万美金进行Kalydeco的早期研究，Kalydeco在一月份成为第一个针对导致囊性纤维变性的突变基因的药物，它是位于马萨诸塞州的Vertex公司的产品，此公司会从药品的销售额中给投资的慈善基金一定的分成，这又将会被投资于药品的进一步研究。其他的慈善基金也纷纷效仿Cystic Fibrosis。就如Fox慈善基金已在药物研究上投资了2.89亿美金。
Governments have also waded further into R&D. In 2007 the European Commission announced a ten-year,