Innovation That Matters

A second chance for promising but unprofitable drugs

Nonprofit & Social Cause

One of the unfortunate realities of the pharmaceuticals industry is that promising new drugs are sometimes abandoned simply because they’re not likely to be profitable. Aiming to give such medicines a chance at a new life — not to mention the patients who might benefit from them — Cinderella Therapeutics is a Dutch not-for-profit enterprise that picks up the most promising of such therapies and continues testing them. Cinderella was founded by a team of seasoned Dutch and American scientist-entrepreneurs who have agreed to forgo personal financial gain in order to further the development of what they call “stepchild” medications — hence the organization’s name. Toward that end, they have secured the collaboration of clinical investigators along with the financial support of creative philanthropists, and are now working on a new form of RadioImmunoTherapy (RIT) for brain tumours that continues and extends the work of a doctor in Italy 17 years ago. In 2011 the first patients with a recurrent GlioBlastoma Multifome will be entered in the Cinderella study; if it proves effective there, the treatment will be tested in patients with other incurable forms of cancer as well. Five other potential medicines are currently being evaluated by Cinderella for similar pursuit. “We do not hesitate to claim that Cinderella can develop new drugs quicker, more effectively and with a higher success rate by the combination of not-for-profit with a corporate approach,” explains cofounder Dick van Bekkum. Each study is directed by physician/scientists and focused on patients; participants include scientists at selected academic centers and philanthropists willing to provide both talent and working capital. Following an open source approach, Cinderella seeks others to participate in its efforts, particularly those who have invented what later became stepchild therapies; physicians and scientists willing to help out on the research end; philanthropists for funding; and anyone else willing to help run the Cinderella Therapeutics Foundation or participate in one of its projects. All those with a scientific or health care bent: one to get involved in early? (Related: Making medicine as ubiquitous as Coca-Cola.) Spotted by: Roxana Tigelaar



Download PDF