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Given persistently high prices for medicines, one pharmaceutical executive is trying a gambit in hopes of widening access in lesser-developed countries and, eventually, the US. Ann Kwong, who once headed the hepatitis C franchise at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, recently assembled a team and the financial backing to open Trek Therapeutics, a public benefit corporation. The idea is to mix the traditional goal of making a profit with a large dose of altruism. Her plan is to develop new hepatitis C treatments and provide them at low cost. Trek is still very much in the early stages, but Kwong is adamant her plan can work. This is an edited version of our conversation …

Pharmalot: So before we discuss Trek, tell me about your time at Vertex.

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