How we are advancing American innovation to cure disease and save lives

Jim's Corner

Mankind’s need to cure disease, combat hunger and discover new forms of energy has never been more urgent. Yet despite the extraordinary hope offered by biotechnology to solve these problems, government policies and the capital formation environment necessary to support these goals are insufficiently conducive to allowing us to meet these critical challenges.

During our 2011 BIO International Convention, we unveiled a strategic initiative to speed scientific breakthroughs, develop cures and grow the bio-economy. The policy proposals we presented will serve as BIO’s targeted advocacy plan for the next few years. Our comprehensive set of policy proposals address two vital needs for ensuring robust biotechnology innovation and industry growth: 1) the need to re-engineer the biotech economic model, and 2) the need to re-invent the idea-to-market pathway for biotech cures and other products. We will pursue these proposals by advocating for legislation, specifically by turning the relevant findings in to language that will be used to advocate for introduction and passage of legislation.

The process of putting together these proposals began last summer when interviewing thought leaders within and outside of our industry for the purpose of envisioning game-changing strategies. We contracted with Dr. Elias Zerhouni, former Director of the National Institutes of Health, to conduct an analysis of the challenges we face and a more comprehensive survey of medical experts, academic researchers and other life science leaders to suggest out-of-the-box, big ideas to significantly advance biotechnology’s chances to succeed. Additionally, during the past six months we worked with BIO Board members to review these ideas, debate their merits and create alternative and additional approaches to develop a comprehensive national policy strategy.

BIO has consistently succeeded in contributing to the development of important and effective policy at the federal, state and international levels. Our efforts notwithstanding, the legal and regulatory structures in place remain woefully insufficient to incentivize the magnitude of investment necessary in the biotechnology sector to translate the scientific potential that resides in the thousands of small, medium and large American biotech companies into products that save lives and fuel and feed the world in environmentally sustainable ways. Only by transforming the policy environment can we create a robust 21st century innovation economy, maintain our biotechnology global leadership, produce hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs in the United States and prevent the tsunami of additional health care costs that will be associated with the aging baby-boomer population.

Stay tuned for more…

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