Bright Path CEO Tony Quinone joins Yahoo Finance to discuss how the Build Back Better plan will promote locally produced pharmaceutical drugs.
– And you will stay with us now because we are staying on this topic now with our next guest. Tony Quinones is CEO of drug development and manufacturing company Bright Path Labs. And Tony, thank you very much for being with us now. And of course, a critical part of vaccine manufacturers’ response to COVID and now the omicron variant is the manufacturing process and the ability to scale it up. And by connecting all of that to what’s going on in Washington, the Biden administration’s Build Back Better proposal plans to spend billions to expand vaccine manufacturing capacity. Tell us about how Bright Path Labs would fit into these plans.
TONY QUINONES: Sure. Bright Path Labs has entered into a multi-year research and development agreement with the EPA and recently worked with the FDA’s Emerging Technology Program to create a cutting-edge manufacturing platform based here, patented in the United States. So we’re ready to partner with companies to make at least 60 essential drugs and a number of rare disease orphan drugs, and to be able to accelerate rapid drug development as some of these new vaccines arrive. . Some of the intermediates and other bulk materials needed to make these drugs, our platform allows us to do that very quickly here in the United States.
ANJALI KHEMLANI: Tony, Anjali here. I know President Biden just stepped off the podium earlier today, really touting the idea that drugs are more affordable. If things are to start developing in the United States – and I know this is one of the pushes we’ve seen from the Trump administration, then you started this deal with the FDA – I mean of the price part. How do you plan to include affordability in this whole process?
TONY QUINONES: Well, that was the main driving force of our business, to make safe, affordable drugs here in the United States. And our ability to do that is to reduce the number of steps it takes to make the same medicine. In traditional methodologies this requires a number of different steps, a bigger platform, more staff, more mobile supply chain elements.
And we are able to eliminate a number of these steps using a continuous flow manufacturing methodology. We therefore reduce the materials, which has a great impact on the environment, and a better quality of the drug. So overall, we end up being able to manufacture at a lower cost. And we expect to be able to pass that on to the supply chain and ultimately to the patient.
ANJALI KHEMLANI: So at the end of the day you see being able to compete with, say, the APIs that are produced in China and India at really, really low prices, and being able to bring them here as well, even though the industry is starting to grow. pursue more complex research. therapeutics, such as genetics. You focus on being able to sort of do the essentials.
TONY QUINONES: Absoutely. This has been our focus for a number of years, is to find out how we can reduce the number of steps in a chemistry and take biological pathways and turn them into synthetic pathways and lower those costs. So we believe that the timing of our market entry is ideal, because the pricing issues will continue, the supply issues will continue. We believe we are fully poised to have an immediate impact in 2022 with some of the partnerships and products that we plan to roll out.
– You have experience in this area. And I think back to what the Trump administration did when it sent government money to Kodak, which was trying to change its business model. Is somehow, maybe – because we were asking you about the potential of Build Back Better funds to move your business forward even faster – is this kerfuffle the word I’ll use, because the SEC will fine me if I use any other, leave a bad taste in the mouths of government officials providing money for what you already do and know how to do?
TONY QUINONES: Yes, that’s left a bad taste in a lot of emerging tech companies like Bright Path and some of our other friends who you know really have advanced manufacturing platforms that have been in development for a number of years and which have been to be able to produce the actual chemistry.
So it was a bit of a shock to see something like this happen. And our expectation is now, with this new administration and the $ 9 billion allocated in this past legislation, that the Senate, when it is renewed, will be able to look for innovative companies, innovative American companies to be able to manufacture these products. here and create the jobs so that we can create the drugs, deliver better quality, and do what we can ideally do with technology. It is to improve things immediately.
ANJALI KHEMLANI: Tony, very quickly before I let you go, number one, will a lot of that depend on government funding? And second, how fast can you get online?
TONY QUINONES: Well, we’re online now. We are making products, intermediate products for customers now. And we plan to be ready, FDA cleared in a CGMP environment by the end of Q1 2022. So we can act really quickly and we don’t need government funding. But we do know that a large amount, over $ 500 billion in federal money is being used to buy drugs here in America, and we wish we could get into some of these contracts and be able to provide them with, you know, what we believe. to a much better product.
– All right, we’ll leave it at that for now. Tony Quinone, CEO of Bright Path Labs, and Anjali Khamlani, Yahoo Finance health reporter, thank you both very much for joining us.