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Small numbers, big concerns: the role of social enterprises in orchestrating repurposing for rare diseases

23 maggio 2019 ore 14:00 - 16:00

Aula 205a, Sede di Viale Romania, 32

Speaker: Georg von Krogh, ETH Zurich


Due to their small market size, many rare diseases lack treatments. While government incentives exist for the development of drugs for rare diseases, these interventions have yielded insufficient progress. Based on an in-depth case study of rare disease drug development, we explore how the practices of two non-profit organizations seemingly successfully allowed them to circumvent the endemic market and government failures involving positive externalities by using generic drug repurposing—i.e., the search for new therapeutic applications for existing generic (off-patent) drugs. Beyond elucidating the potential of generic drug repurposing for those suffering from rare diseases, our discoveries provide important insights about the mutual constitution of organizational arrangements for societal challenges and the practices they host. By showing how organizational arrangements can both reinforce and extend practices such that they enable practitioners to achieve a standard of excellence, our study advances practice theory and research on the comparative efficacy of alternative organizational arrangements for addressing societal challenges.

Keywords: drug development, drug repurposing, government failure, health care, market failure, non-profit, organizational arrangements, positive externalities, practices, societal challenges, social entrepreneurship.