Drug Company Startup EQRx Launches With Mission To Lower Drug Prices

A new startup aims to bring down drug prices by re-engineering and making the whole process less costly. The startup raised $200 million from investors and it’s aiming to get the first drug approved in 5 years and have 10 drugs approved in their first decade.

EQRX’s aims to develop new drugs that work similarly to those already on the market. Some drug makers have tried a similar approach on the past, but EQRx’s wants to make drugs that rival Big Pharma’s pricier deals and offer them at a much lower price. The company has raised $200 million so far from investors such as Horowitz, Andreessen, and GV.

New types of drug companies have also tried to take on the high cost of treatments. For example, a nonprofit generic drugmaker called Civica Rx was created by a group of hospitals to make generic drugs in shortage or drugs that are too costly. Also, California governor Newsom debuted a proposal that could make California the first state to have its own generic drugs.

The founders of EQRx, Alexis Borisy and a team of biopharma veterans and critics, are big names in biotech. The idea is to rival the highest-priced drugs and sell them at a lower price.  Drugmakers already develop drugs that work similarly with more or less the same price.  EQRx’s business model will provide a sustainable approach for creating and promoting innovation, making sure these prescriptions are available to individuals as well as healthcare systems at reduced pricing.

Simply put, new drugs are going to be invented and sold for less money than the competition. It’s called business and if it all works out, some people may benefit from the deal.  However, people and doctors don’t like to switch to a new drug just because it’s cheaper. It’s going to take much more than that to convince them.

On the other hand, supporters believe that the technology to make drugs is improving. It’s the golden age of biotech and pharmaceutical innovation. EQRx will start developing 50 different experimental medicines. But it’s a slow process as they will come up with its first medicine in five years and about 10 other drugs within a decade.  The next step is to determine which drugs are going to be targeted.

People believe the company knows what they are doing and Alexis Borisy’s deep experience in starting drug and biotechnology companies can bring drugs from zero to 60 in no time. As a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and now a board member and investor in drug companies, he seems to be the right kind of guy for this job.

Just like everyone else, Borisy believes drug prices are too high. People criticize him because the same companies he founded are responsible for the skyrocketing drug prices we are experiencing today. Also, lowering prices may not necessarily result in more sales. Historically, the least successful medicines often raise their prices to make up for the losses, and the best-sellers often follow – the neverending story.


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