11.9.18 | Forbes
By Steve Brozak
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When the person who successfully upended the broadcast radio industry model with the launch of Sirius XM satellite radio and then successfully challenged the drug development model to create new drugs for rare diseases now tells you to focus on bio-defense, you better pay attention. So when Dr. Martine Rothblatt PhD, JD, the Founder and CEO of United Therapeutics Corp., appeared as the keynote speaker for BARDA’s Industry Day, it signaled this was not going to be business as usual, even for a government agency that must be ready to combat exotic diseases like Ebola, Zika and Pandemic flu.
BARDA is the U.S. Government agency responsible for identifying biothreats and ensuring our government’s ability to respond to them. Dr. Rothblatt expressed three categories of concern, saying, “If any of these threats were to materialize it could be catastrophic.” Her first enumerated concern involved the normal day-to-day realities of prevention and treatment of infections by viruses, bacteria and other health threats, that could lead to a healthcare system crisis. The second, involved potential accidental activities, like simple research projects gone wrong, which have been a reality since the advent of recombinant DNA research going back to the 1970s. Dr. Rothblatt identified bad actors as the final concern, whether they be individuals, groups or state sponsored players. With this as her backdrop, Dr. Rothblatt advocated for “corporate and personal patriotism” at BARDA’s Industry Day.