Caroline Kant

Ashoka Fellow
Switzerland
Fellow Since 2014
Related TopicsHealth & Fitness, Health care

Citation

This profile was prepared when Caroline Kant was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
In a health system that lacks incentives to drive the recycling of previously developed drugs for rare diseases, EspeRare serves as a none-commercially driven trusted broker to coordinate and drive the complicated process of drug development among the major actors: patient groups, regulatory bodies, clinical research partners and pharmaceutical companies. Through its unprecedented positioning, Esperare applies all the pieces of a comprehensive solution –R&D and project management expertise, patient-centricity, and hybrid financing mechanisms – to advance the discovery of new treatments for these underserved patients.

An important piece of this solution is the engagement of patients and the pharmaceutical industry. Under a system in which pharmaceutical companies rarely engage in drug repositioning for rare diseases – as it is considered resource intensive with low financial returns – Caroline provides commercial partners with an attractive and viable alternative. EspeRare incentivizes investments in drug repositioning by pooling additional financial resources from public funds, patient groups, as well as by reducing R&D costs, therefore de-risking the validation of these unexplored opportunities in rare diseases. It also offers pharmaceutical companies flexible business models that are adapted to a given asset and a given repositioning program.

Caroline’s approach to drug repositioning extends beyond its benefits to rare disease populations. Her repositioning approach can be replicated to other mainstream diseases as health systems are moving toward more personalized care approaches in smaller patient populations. She is also considering replicating her approach to other health domains, such as prevention and diagnostics which faces similar challenges to forge sustainable economic models and avoiding two-tiered medicine.

EspeRare is currently undergoing two repositioning programs and has 5-7 more under evaluation in its pipeline, that are set to be launch within the coming years. Not only will these programs accelerate the birth of new treatments for underserved patients, but they will also improve patients’ quality of life by providing guidance, support and enhance their disease understanding. At a more systematic scale, EspeRare’s model - with investment pooling and multi partnerships - is pushing the health sector to improve and cheapen development and access to health more broadly.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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