Pharmaceutical companies getting involved

I found an article on the Med City News website that discusses that Pfizer has just enlisted Second Genome, a microbiome company, to perform a study exploring the role of microbes in disease, particularly obesity. Second Genome, “The Microbiome Company”, describe themselves as bringing “microbiome science to the discovery and development of therapeutic products”. This study will look at the relationship between the microbiome, obesity, and metabolic disease by studying 900 obese individuals over a twelve month period.

While we have discussed in class the importance of looking into new therapies utilizing the microbiome, I wonder if studies funded by a big name drug company are really the way to go about this. While Pfizer likely has the money to fund a project like this, it is easy to wonder whether or not their intentions are sound. If the study is performed well and the evidence is found to be strong and could help people, than I believe that it is worth while. However, if the study is performed in a way in which the company looks at only the results they want to see, or perhaps if the potential therapies are not studies to their fullest extent, than it could end up being detrimental to people. In other words, if Pfizer is funding this study in order to advance knowledge and help people, I believe it could be useful but if Pfizer is dishonest and uses this project and potential therapeutics only to make money without helping others, than I believe it could be a huge detriment to people who are looking for real solutions. We discussed in class the other day that intentions behind a study can determine whether or not it is performed ethically, and that a conflict of interest can potentially stand in the way of a study or trial being done well. If Pfizer has a potential to make a lot of money from this project, there is also potential that they will cut corners when it comes to doing the research correctly.

The link to the article about Pfizer joining up with Second Genome can be found here:

http://medcitynews.com/2014/05/pfizer-enlists-second-genome-explore-microbiome-target-diabetes-obesity-treatments/

If you’re interested in learning more about Second Genome, their webpage can be found here:

http://www.secondgenome.com

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One thought on “Pharmaceutical companies getting involved

  1. I googled Pfizer and obesity, just to see if there has been any major effort on Pfizer’s part to develop a drug targeting weight and several results popped up. Most of them are from less-credible, popular sources (although I did find an article from Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News), but several of them suggest that Pfizer has made financial partnerships with a few research industries, like Sanford-Burnham and Rhythm, looking to develop treatments for obesity and diabetes-related complications. These alliances might be a good indicator of their actual intentions.

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