[Ed. Note: Dr. KSS, formerly knowns as karmaswimswami on our discussion threads, is here again to talk to the Irregulars about health and medicine and biotech investing ideas. As with all of our guest contributors, he has agreed to our trading restrictions and we have not reviewed, approved or screened his stocks or ideas, and the opinions he expresses are solely his own.]
Sulfonamides, beta-lactams, macrolides, aminoglycosides, glycopeptides, fluoroquinolones, carbapenems, quinaprustins, oxazolidinones. And some not quite in a class, such as clindamycin, aztreonam and metronidazole. This isn’t cerebral name-dropping. For a physician, these are “the temple of the familiar,” our friends and allies, drugs we deploy everyday to good measure. When I was a medical student, dozens of specific drugs from these classes were the stuff of index cards made into well-worn flashcards….their origins, actions, uses, adverse effects, and their maddeningly varied dosages…what veterinarian James Herriott wrote of as “the vast soulless territory of materia medica.” For decades these drugs have served in good stead. Now they are losing their grip. There was a time when a profoundly ill patient could be dosed up with an antimicrobial therapeutic dragnet such that, no matter the cause of the infection, so long as it was bacterial, the offending pathogen(s) had no chance. Now there are no such guarantees.
Make a fresh pot of tea. Or grab a Diet Coke. Put your feet up. Get comfortable. This won’t be a short or simple article, but I’ll make it worth your while intellectually and financially. The gig of Orson Welles’s rotten character in Carol Reed’s The Third Man was diluting penicillin for profit. This is a concentrated look at antibiotics and how to invest in them.
Here’s a primer of life on earth. In the year 1, there were two primitive kinds of life: prokaryotes and archaea. Bacteria are prokaryotes. Quite some time later, there was Life V3.0: eukaryotes, considerably more sophisticated organisms but with an important Achilles’ heel, their robust energy demands. Earth’s eukaryotes are animals, plants and fungi, and these emerged and differentiated themselves from hypothetical cruder one-celled organisms to become complex multicell entities throttled and strangled, however, by energy needs. The eukaryotes also soon developed a problem that plagues them still, which is being ever under attack by prokaryotes (bacteria), eager to invade and commandeer nutrients, water, oxygen and warmth. Because the eukaryotes had absolutely outsize needs for the ...