Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to Receive $3.3 Billion for Kalydeco Rights

Fifteen years ago, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) partnered with Vertex Pharmaceuticals and funded the company’s drug development program for cystic fibrosis (CF). A total of about $150M were invested in developing therapies for CF, successfully leading to the 2012 FDA approval of Kalydeco, the first disease-modifying therapy for CF, and two more in the pipeline. The CFF has now announced the sale of its royalty rights in the drug to Royalty Pharma for $3.3 billion, 20 times the Foundation’s annual budget, and is planning to inject the funds into further CF research. This success story is not without controversy, as some believe it has created a conflict of interest. So, what are the pros and cons of medical venture philanthropy?

Fifteen years ago, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) partnered with Vertex Pharmaceuticals and funded the company’s drug development program for cystic fibrosis (CF). A total of about $150M were invested in developing therapies for CF, successfully leading to the 2012 FDA approval of Kalydeco, the first disease-modifying therapy for CF, and two more in the pipeline. The CFF has now announced the sale of its royalty rights in the drug to Royalty Pharma for $3.3 billion, 20 times the Foundation’s annual budget, and is planning to inject the funds into further CF research. This success story is not without controversy, as some believe it has created a conflict of interest. So, what are the pros and cons of medical venture philanthropy?

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