Financial giant questions if curing diseases is bad for business

Financial giant questions if curing diseases is bad for business
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Goldman Sachs has questioned whether curing diseases is an "economically viable" business venture, provoking criticism from the public.

Analysts from the global finance firm questioned the value of investing in gene therapy to find disease cures in a recent report called The Genome Revolution.

According to CNBC, analysts said that delivering "one shot cures" will offer a very different financial return to prolonged treatment programmes.

"While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow," analyst Salveen Richter wrote in the report supplied to clients.

As an example, Mr Richter referred to a hepatitis C treatment with cure rates of more than 90 percent. However Gilead Sciences, who sold the treatment, are predicted to see their sales revenue fall to $4 billion this year from $12.5 billion in 2015.

"The success of its hepatitis C franchise has gradually exhausted the available pool of treatable patients," the analyst said.

He said that curing hepatitis C also reduced the number of carriers who'd transmit the virus to new patients so the "incident pool" declines.

The analyst pointed out that for diseases like cancer, there's a more steady "incident pool" so the outlook is better for financial returns.

"Where an incident pool remains stable (eg in cancer) the potential for a cure poses less risk to the sustainability of a franchise," Mr Richter said.