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New Finance, Development Model for Pancreatic Disease

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(stevepb, Pixabay)

7 November 2017. An organization is being formed to adopt performance-based financing and precision medicine to accelerate research and development on pancreatitis. The organization known as Mission: Cure, based in New York, will convene a panel of experts at the American Pancreatic Association’s annual meeting in San Diego on 10 November.

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, an organ in the upper abdomen that produces enzymes for digestion and insulin to regulate the processing of glucose in the body. The disorder can occur once or twice, or become chronic. In chronic cases of pancreatitis, upper abdominal pain becomes persistent and sometimes severe. Scar tissue can form in the pancreas over time, resulting in digestive problems and diabetes. Chronic pancreatic cancer is also a risk factor for kidney failure and pancreatic cancer.

Mission: Cure is taking a different approach to find effective treatments for pancreatitis, that combines outcome-based financing, precision medicine, and impact investing. Outcome-based financing, also called results-based financing, builds in incentives tied to achievement of measurable health outcomes or results. Examples of these measurable outcomes are number of times hospitalized, days without pain, and number of work or school days missed because of illness. This type of pay-for-performance arrangement is considered an alternative to traditional payment schemes for providers that automatically cover the costs of health services.

The group plans as well to encourage impact investing among its funders, which applies elements of this performance model to underwriting research and development on pancreatitis. In this case, Mission: Cure is enlisting venture philanthropists who provide investment capital with expectations of both financial and performance returns. The organization cites a survey by the Global Impact Investing Network that shows impact investors placed some $22 billion in 8,000 deals during 2016, with $26 billion planned in 2017.

Another part of Mission: Cure’s strategy is precision medicine, with diagnostics and treatments based on genomic testing to find therapies designed to address specific variations in patients’ genomes. A key component in precision medicine is high-powered data analytics that find underlying patterns in genomics and health records data, highlighting promising treatments. Among those therapies are drugs already approved to treat other diseases that can be applied to pancreatitis.

“Repurposing already-approved drugs is a faster and less expensive way to get new treatments to patients.,” says Bruce Bloom, CEO of Cures Within Reach and an adviser to Mission: Cure. “Cures Within Reach has facilitated numerous successful repurposing efforts and will help Mission: Cure deploy this strategy as its fiscal sponsor.”

Mission: Cure is the creation of Eric Golden, investment banker and entrepreneur, who also suffers from chronic pancreatitis, and Megan Golden, a financial expert for social and health programs, as well as Eric’s sister. The organization is collaborating with Cures Within Reach and National Pancreas Foundation. Mission: Cure patterns itself after other health research and advocacy organizations using impact financing and advanced drug discovery techniques such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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