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生物医学逆风飞扬

拉荷亚,加利福尼亚—权威人士早就预测,生物学将主宰二十一世纪,正如物理学主宰二十世纪。但生物医学研究并为实现与伴随燃烧、电力和电子的产业化所出现的那种生产率提升。“生物学的世纪”最后会成为镜花水月吗?

这一问题在很大程度上可以归结为生物医学研发支出的下降。目前,该领域每年的投资规模大约为2,700亿美元,产生令人瞩目的五十万项发表成果,但只能带来20—30种新药。

支出和产出之间的矛盾符合所谓的“逆摩尔定律”。摩尔定律是关于计算机处理能随时间增长而变化的定律,具体而言,在一块集成电路上所能廉价布置的晶体管数量每18—24个月会翻一番。相反,逆摩尔定律是关于新药批准数量的,该定律指出,开发新药的成本大约每九年会翻一番。

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