Unherd: Should Big Pharma be destroyed?

GreenLight Biosciences is featured in Unherd magazine on the need for smaller, more innovative companies to help roll out Covid vaccines to the rest of the world.

Credit: Unherd/Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty

Andrey Zarur, the CEO of the biotech firm GreenLight, who are producing their own mRNA vaccine for Covid at the moment, comes at the whole thing from a different angle“Pfizer was not designed to make low-cost therapeutics available to every corner of the world,” he says: it’s a 150-year-old company with settled investors and a particular way of working.

He compares it to Apple. “You have a $1,000 iPhone 13,” he says. “Who’s that designed for? My children. Idiot teenagers with rich parents.” Poorer countries need smartphones too, but the solution is not to force Apple to sell smartphones to Ethiopia at a discount. “What you need is an innovative company with different processes.” Instead of demanding changes from 150-year-old companies that are very good at the specific things they do, create smaller, newer companies which do the thing you want. “There’s six billion people in the developing world,” says Zarur. “You should be able to figure out a way to turn a reasonable profit with reasonably priced drugs.”

Read the full article here.

Find out more about how GreenLight manufactures RNA.