Predictions on Health Care and Biotech – 2017

Matthew Herper wrote on Forbes Online on October 15th of the new biotech. Synthetic biology is starting to spring up now around a few tiny companies and university labs, based around new technologies that allow scientists to easily edit DNA. By 2017, ExxonMobil will be selling BioGo, a gasoline-like fuel that’s made by bacteria, and Amgen will be testing another strain of bug that hunts cancer cells. Wyeth will be working on another custom microbe that eats up artery plaque. You’ll even be able to buy building materials made from synthetic microbes at Home Depot.

The Unconventional Wisdom
We will finally start making headway against Alzheimer’s disease. The first drugs to really slow the progress of Alzheimer’s will start emerging soon, but their benefits will be smaller than many hoped. In 10 years, thanks to an aging population, Alzheimer’s will be one of the most costly and damaging diseases facing our society. But drugs from Pfizer, Biogen-Elan and Merck might actually make a dent in this scourge.

The Misplaced Assumption
Health care will be fixed. In the near-term reforms to America’s health insurance system will compel most people to buy either private insurance or a competing plan run by the government. But then we will all start carrying our genomes around on our phones. Insurers will initially be banned from looking at this information, but that will make it impossible for them to estimate their risks properly. Nobody wants the insurance industry looking at his DNA, but by 2017, we will be heading to another massive reform of the health care system.

The Watch List
Kenneth Frazier: Will become chief executive of Merck and guide it through one of its most productive periods. By 2017, he will be nearing retirement age. Who can replace him?
Drew Endy: The guy who wrote “steal this gnome” 15 years ago will become the chief executive of SynGen. Can the biohacker hack it as a CEO?
Kevin Eggan: When embryonic stem cell research finally delivers medical results, the Harvard scientist will find himself in an even more political role.

The Bold Prediction
Cancer treatments will be one of the most dramatic success stories of the coming decade, as dozens of new medicines turn out to be more effective when used in combination than administered separately. Many cancers will become viewed as chronic illnesses.

Lets wait till 2017 and see how many of these come true and if Matthew is another Alvin Toffler of sorts……..

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