We flew to the moon - almost 40 years ago
We landed several robots on Mars - during the last couple of years
We can talk to each other for free from almost any two cities on the planet - today, thanks to Skype
And there are hundreds of other examples of "IMPOSSIBLE" things, that mankind was able to do. Compared to them, my VISION is rather a small thing.
So, I definitely believe it is possible. And you?
Of course, I did quite some thinking whether this really is a realistic idea. I guess, there are four main questions, which should be discussed and at least partially answered, before going further.
I believe, that the answer to all this questions is yes. Therefore, I think, that this is really a realistic idea. Please, don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying it can be easily done, but nonetheless, I believe that it is definitely not impossible.
But let me explain my thoughts a little bit more in detail.
According to the Atlas of MS, about 2.3 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with MS. All of them have family and close friends who really do care about MS. So, if we just consider MS patients and the four closest friends/relatives of them, we have a worldwide community of about 12 million people with a very strong interest in this topic. And thinking about myself, I'm absolutely sure that MS is one of the main topics among those people.
So yes, I do believe, that there are enough people who are interested.
As explained, our community consists of more than 10 million people. Moreover, the population in West Europe and North America is far more affected by MS, than, for instance developing countries. That means MS is mainly a problem in the richer countries on the planet.
I remember that Opexa explained somewhen around 2011/2012, that they would need about 30millions USD to go on with phase 3 trial for Tovaxin/TClena as treatment for RRMS (disclosure: I don’t know anymore where I read this number, I guess it was a statement from the CFO of Opexa. If somebody has a link to this quote or another statement saying, how much money for a phase 3 trial with 1000-2000 patients is needed, please inform me at email@example.com).
Let us assume, we need 100Mio in order to push a new therapy forward, that would mean, that almost everybody of our 12 million community needs to spend 10 USD.
Now, that is probably an illusion but the catch is, that we don't need 12 million people who spend 10 USD, we need about 2 million people who spent at LEAST 10 USD.
The point is the distribution of wealth. There may be a lot of people, who can only afford to donate 10USD, but in this group, there will also be people who can easily afford to donate 100USD, 1000USD and even more. (Perry Marshall explains this very well in his book "80/20 Sales And Marketing)
Think for yourself: If you are among these 12 million community, how much would you be willing to donate, if you knew, that your donation would make it possible to have a new therapy available two or three years earlier?
Under the circumstances, that you know that firstly, there are enough people to support the project and secondly, that the organization asking for the money can be trusted? is it 10, 20, 50, 100, 1000 or even more?
Moreover, it's not necessary to collect all the needed money at once. It could be provided in tranches.
Also, let's take a look at the balance sheet of existing MS organisations and the donations, they received in 2014:
|Name||Country||# patients||donations [USD]||per patient [USD]|
|MS Gesellschaft Schweiz||Switzerland||10'000||12 Mio||1'250|
|National Multiple Sclerosis Society||USA||400'000||100 Mio||250|
Summarizing the financial part:
In order to collect 100Mio USD, we need about 2Mio people out of a group of 12Mio people with a VERY STRONG interest in this topic, to donate at least 10USD.
In order to collect 30Mio USD and asking for at least 20USD, we "only" need 200'000 - 300'000 people of our community.
I know, still a lot of people, but far away from being impossible.
I recently became aware of TISCH, a non-profit that is short before completing their phase I trial using stem cells to repair the myelin sheet. In order to get their funding for the study, they launched an IndieGoGo campaign.
Since this campaign is about an MS-treatment it reflects completely our target group. Therefore, I guess we can say that conclusions we draw from this campaign are sort of representative.
First, a total of 317’000 USD was collected from about 950 donations. That is an average of 300 USD per donation.
Besides having the possibility to donate a free amount, they had the following fixed amount that could be donated: 25 USD, 100 USD, 250 USD, 500 USD, 1'000 USD, 5'000 USD, 10'000 USD, 25'000 USD. Around 470 donors used these fixed amount donations. The total donated sum of these 470 donors was about 125’000 USD.
Below is graphic where I accumulated the donations of those 470 donors, starting with the lowest donations of 25 USD up to the highest donation of 25’000 USD.
What is so remarkable about this diagram, is the fact, that matches almost exactly the 80/20 rule mentioned above: 20% of the donors donate 80% of the total.
So, we do not only have a real-life confirmation of this rule, we also have it in the exact same target group, that we would need to address.
Of course, reaching up to two million people and keeping in contact is a real challenge. I’m definitely aware of this fact. On the other hand, the landscape in communication has changed dramatically during the last 10-15 years. Today, social media gives us possibilities, we didn’t even dream of 20 years ago. Think about this: today, about 1.5 billion people are on FaceBook (FB). Almost a billion of them logs into FB every day.
There are many groups and persons on FB with millions of followers. Think about Shakira, the first person who had more than 100Mio followers.
And you even don't have to pay for that service.
Today, the geographical distance simply doesn’t matter that much anymore. What matters today is the “social media” distance.
How many people are between you and me on FaceBook? What do you think: 100, 50, 20, 10? The amazing fact is, that the average is even below 10, probably as low as 7.
How does this help?
A message about a project like this can be spread globally relatively easily in only a couple of days or weeks. And this at no costs.
The big question is now, why enough people should be willing to forward such a message. Here I believe, statistic facts play in our hands. According to the epidemiology of MS in North-America and Europe, one person out of 700 is diagnosed with MS. Combining this with the fact, that an average FB user has about 150 "friends" this means, that there is a probability of 10% that a FB user has a person diagnosed with MS among his friends. Moreover, even if an FB user doesn't’ know an MS-patient directly, there is a very good chance, that he knows somebody who knows an MS-patient.
We haven't talked about twitter and other social platforms yet.
Summarizing this, we have the technical infrastructure to reach interested people and keep them informed. For FREE.
Based on statistic data, it should be possible to motivate enough people to spread the word.
Today, there are a lot of possibilities, how money can be transferred. There are direct payment services like PayPal.
Furthermore, we have a lot of crowdfunding portals and we even have the possibility to issues share on such platforms.
This is also depending on the legal form the organization should have. But no matter which form, there are numerous, convenient ways to collect money.