An uncertain policy environment, a challenging financial situation for many companies, and ambiguity within the overall economy
present us with an important opportunity to re-focus and re-energize our industry's mission to heal, fuel, and feed the world.
Biotechnology's mission has never been more critical. The challenges confronting our world are enormous, but the place to
look for change is among the great minds of scientists and inside research laboratories.
James C. Greenwood
Our companies continue to innovate at a breathtaking pace. Today, there are more than 200 biotechnology products and vaccines
approved by the FDA, extending lives and providing new hope for patients living with debilitating diseases like cancer or
HIV and AIDS. More than 600 new biotechnology medicines currently are either in human clinical trials or under review by the
FDA for diseases including cancer, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and more than 100 other conditions.
Many other potential treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics are in earlier phases of development. Cutting edge research in
areas such as regenerative medicine, gene therapy, and synthetic biology may lead to even more effective ways to not only
treat, but predict, preempt, and prevent disease.
Researching and developing new therapies is a long, expensive, and risky process. On average, developing a new drug costs
$1.2 billion over the course of 10 to 15 years from the time research begins until it receives FDA approval to go on the market.
This includes the cost of dead ends and failed drug candidates along the away. Only five out of every 5,000 potential medicines
tested ever reaches the stage of clinical trials.
We must ensure that companies have the necessary support and funding for research and development to produce promising innovations
that will lead to life-saving treatments. We must have a strong system in place that protects patents and encourages future
innovation. We must prioritize new policies and regulations that will create an environment where innovation can flourish.
Policies that encourage innovation will help provide the certainty biotech researchers and their investors need to continue
to develop and improve breakthrough biologic medicines and treatments and, some day, cures.
Millions of people are waiting. Some are waiting for a new treatment. Some are waiting for a cure. Biotech provides the best
chance we have to end the waiting and provide new hope.
Despite these challenges, biotech companies are dedicated to finding the next biologically based treatment or cure. They are
willing to devote enormous energy, creativity, and resources to this endeavor, even though they know success is difficult
to achieve. Now is the time to bring together the entire biotech community to work together to find solutions for the challenges
I invite you to join me in Chicago at the 2010 BIO International Convention as we tackle some of the many challenges currently
facing our industry. The global event for biotechnology will bring together more than 15,000 industry leaders along with 1,700
exhibitors from around the world from May 3 to 6 in Chicago. Together, we can deliver on the promise and potential of biotech
to help heal, fuel, and feed the world.
James C. Greenwood is president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Washington, DC, 202.962.9200, firstname.lastname@example.org