14 Things That Cost the Same As a Gene Therapy Clinical Trial

March 23, 2016

Several of the families I write about say that it takes about $3-5 million to fund a phase 1 clinical trial for a handful of patients to test a gene transfer protocol. A phase 1 trial assesses safety and possibly efficacy (any measurable improvement or slowing of the disease course) in a few patients. The small patient pool may reflect the rarity of the disorder and/or the high cost – a viral vector alone can run $1 million.

imgresSo I thought I’d put the cost to launch a phase 1 clinical trial for gene therapy into perspective for Rare Disease Day 2016, February 29. Here are 14 random things that cost ~$5 million:

• A 30-second Super Bowl commercial
• 1/5 of Leonardo DiCaprio’s fee per film
• 1/3 of Jennifer Lawrence’s fee per film
Donald_Trump_-_Caricature_(23414300891)• 1/1000th of a presidential political campaign or of Donald Trump’s net worth
• 5 years of Chris Christie’s travel budget
• Annual salary for a judge on The Voice

Continue reading at



About the Author

Ricki Lewis is a science writer with a PhD in genetics. The author of several textbooks and thousands of articles in scientific, medical, and consumer publications, Ricki’s first narrative nonfiction book, “The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It,” was published by St. Martin’s Press in March 2012. In addition to writing, Ricki provides genetic counseling for parents-to-be at CareNet Medical Group in Schenectady, NY and teaches “Genethics” an online course for master’s degree students at the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical Center.

Stay Connected

Sign up for updates straight to your inbox.