BKK: Commercializing a New Drug

13 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2019

See all articles by Rebecca Goldberg

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

G. Paul Matherne

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Dr. Brad Worthington and his friend, Thurman Ballard, needed to commit to one of three possible paths for commercializing BKK, their new combination drug. BKK was a unique, patented formulation of nonopioid anesthesia drugs with an excellent record in practice. Because BKK was based on the synergistic use of three FDA-approved drugs, it could be used without additional approvals. Worthington and Ballard could pursue a New Drug Application, partner with a compounding pharmacy to sell BKK as a premixed product, or opt to sell a convenience kit containing BKK's premeasured components, attractively boxed but not premixed. Each path held risks and promise. Which should they choose?

Excerpt

UVA-QA-0909

Feb. 25, 2019

BKK: Commercializing a New Drug

The Decision

Dr. Brad Worthington and his friend, Thurman Ballard, needed to pull the trigger on a business decision. The choice was agonizing. It was January 2018, and Worthington had spent most of the last 18 years developing, using in his anesthesia practice, and teaching others how to use BKK, his unique and proprietary formulation of nonopioid anesthesia drugs. Worthington had created BKK by combining three other drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—bupivacaine, ketorolac, and ketamine—to form a locally infiltrated pain reliever at the surgical site that worked for up to 40 hours. Bupivacaine was a local anesthetic sometimes used as a nerve block; ketorolac was a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID); and ketamine was a common anesthesia drug with a long and safe history. When ketamine was administered in subanesthetic doses, it was currently the best-known drug for pain relief. The unique combination in BKK had many benefits. It prevented nausea and inflammation—inflammation was the cause of a significant portion of a surgical patient's pain—and worked so well that it greatly reduced and often eliminated the patient's need to take opioid pain relievers during and after surgery. Some peers found it hard to believe, but even patients who had undergone complicated back, neck, and joint surgeries, which normally required one- or two-night inpatient stays, reported reduced opioid use and went home shortly after surgery. Many patients did not need any opioids after their procedures.

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Keywords: entrepreneurship, decision analysis, health care, pharmaceuticals, health care management, leadership, new technology, commercialization

Suggested Citation

Goldberg, Rebecca and Matherne, G. Paul, BKK: Commercializing a New Drug. Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0909. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3345361

Rebecca Goldberg (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

G. Paul Matherne

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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