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Opinion: Saving lives should be good business. Why doesn’t that apply to finding new antibiotics?

I have spent my career as a biomedical entrepreneur working to develop products that have the potential to save lives while also generating returns for shareholders. Two years ago, I co-founded a new company, Octagon Therapeutics, focused on a critical unmet medical need and a growing market opportunity: more effective antibiotics. It turned out to be a disaster.

We invested significant resources into developing a promising treatment for infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria. These “superbugs,” which do not respond to most existing antibiotics, are responsible for nearly 700,000 deaths each year. If current trends continue, drug-resistant bacteria will be the leading global cause of death by 2050.

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