Jonathan Fleming, a medical researcher and investor, worries about how the Great Recession set back American health. He's concerned that five years from now, we will be no closer to treating and curing diseases like Alzheimer's.
"The thing that will bury us more than anything-more than climate change, more than Iran as a nuclear power-will be millions of demented baby boomers," said Fleming, president and treasurer of the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The problem with Alzheimer's, diabetes, mental health and other common diseases is a lack of private-sector funding for innovative start-ups, said Fleming. Investors have been overlooking cutting-edge medicine in favor of less risky consumer apps-forcing researchers to use venture money carefully and creatively as they work to create a pipeline of future medicines.
In a paper in February's issue of Health Affairs, Fleming argued the complexity of developing life science products, combined with uncertainty about Food and Drug Administration policies, drained venture capital from early stage life science start-ups that make medical software and devices and biotech firms.