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Racing Biotech's Commoditization Clock

Executive Summary

Most genomics, combinatorial chemistry, and other biotech service businesses have been slow to provide clients the anticipated value, either in targets or compounds. Meanwhile, their competitors have caught up, commoditizing the technologies of even the industry leaders. With this lesson in mind, a new group of start-ups, pursuing "validated target discovery" technologies and the possibility of much faster timelines to targets and compounds, is racing to snare high-value partnerships while their technologies still have unique value. The partnerships won't leave all the chemistry and preclinical work to the clients--the low-risk strategy platform companies used to pursue--but will instead pay enough money so that the new start-ups, like Rigel and Arcaris, can create fully-integrated drug discovery platforms capable of producing IND-stage products. These start-ups need to take on the added risk in order to generate the required upside and create the only kind of enduring, high-value intellectual property in the drug industry: products themselves.

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