Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2013

FasterCures: Removing Barriers to Treatments

by Richard G. Hamermesh and James Weber


In mid-2013, as FasterCures celebrated its 10th anniversary as a center of the Milken Institute, Executive Director Margaret Anderson thought about what the organization should do to ensure it had even more impact in its next 10 years. FasterCures was a non-profit "action tank" whose mission was to speed up the process of moving new therapies from discovery to patients in need. Although their annual conference ("Partnering for Cures") to improve how government research was organized was a huge success, Anderson considered refocusing their resources on greater challenges.

For example, current trends in the US showed that investors were increasingly supporting late stage research with higher probabilities of success while funding for riskier early stage research was drying up. Should FasterCures raise money and direct it toward early stage breakthrough therapies? Another issue was the US clinical trial process system. It's complicated, takes a long time, and is very expensive. Should FasterCures reorganize to better understand this issue and make a high-level push to improve it? Or perhaps FasterCures should look at drug reimbursement decisions. Anderson needed to determine where FasterCures should get fully involved, what it should do, and whether it could make a difference.

Keywords: health; health care; health care industry; health care policy; health services; healthcare; healthcare reform; healthcare ventures; nonprofit; non-profit management; not-for-profit; incubator; accelerator; venture philanthropy; medical services; medical solutions; medical research; medical treatment; clinical trials; drug reimbursement; early stage; early stage research funding; early stage funding; Milken Institute; Michael Milken; David Baltimore; Partnering for Cures; National Institutes of Health; Cancer care in the U.S.; Cancer care services; policy-making; Health Care and Treatment; Health; Health Testing and Trials; Entrepreneurship; Social Entrepreneurship; Nonprofit Organizations; Policy; Health Industry; United States; District of Columbia;


Hamermesh, Richard G., and James Weber. "FasterCures: Removing Barriers to Treatments." Harvard Business School Case 814-003, October 2013.