The rules in the race to develop anti-AIDS drugs are changing, and as a result, Business Technology Research (BTR), a subsidiary of consulting firm Venture Economics, is hedging its bet as to who the winners may be. In a marketing report published last month, BTR examines the effects that upcoming changes in FDA regulations will have on firms fighting to develop the next anti-AIDS therapeutic. Only one drug, Burroughs Wellcome's AZT, has been approved against AIDS so far, leaving a host of well-established pharmaceuticals and biotech startups speeding to introduce the next drug. Expected changes in FDA rules that will shorten the time to market for new AIDS drugs could be expected to favor the biotechs, since the firms would be able to sell their products--and generate revenues--sooner, while reducing some of the costs associated with long product development. Yet shorter development could be a double-edged sword, cautions the BTR...

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