The African Cancer Drug Claimed by Bristol Myers, Novartis, and Bayer

24 February 2014

Exempra (ixabepilone), a Bristol Myers Squibb drug for breast cancer, is the product of a remarkable soil bacterium from Africa. The drug currently generates about US $120
million in annual sales for Bristol Myers, and both Novartis and Bayer are conducting
human trials of their own versions. Yet there is no evidence that Africans are benefitting at all from this use of their biodiversity, in part because the origin of the microbe that produces ixabepilone and related drugs has been obscured by vague published information.