Battle of the Shit

Andrew Jacobs reports in The New York Times:

Much like the fight over prescription drug prices, the “poop wars,” as one doctor described it, mirrors long-running tensions in American health care between pharmaceutical companies and patients.

Human feces, it turns out, are a potential gold mine, for both medical researchers and drug makers.

According to the analytical firm GlobalData, the market for drug-based treatments for C. diff is expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2026, up from $630 million in 2016. The growth is tied to soaring rates of C. diff, which parallel the overuse of antibiotics, leaving patients more vulnerable to the infection.

Inspired by the success of fecal transplants for C. diff, scientists are racing to develop similar treatments for an array of ailments and disorders, among them obesity, autism, ulcerative colitis, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Investors, too, have taken note, and they are pouring tens of millions of dollars into start-ups chasing the next microbiota breakthrough.