BIO Unveils Strategic Initiative to Speed Scientific Breakthroughs, Develop Cures and Grow the Bio-Economy

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wednesday, June 29, 2011) - The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) released today a summary of legislative proposals to reform the investment and regulatory environment for biotech innovation. These proposals are designed to unleash the innovation required to cure disease and make the U.S. healthcare system more affordable, efficient, and of higher quality, as well as to foster the development of breakthrough technologies to provide alternative energy sources, combat hunger and protect against bio-terrorism.  The policy proposals, released at a press briefing at the 2011 BIO International Convention held here this week, will serve as the organization’s targeted advocacy plan in these two areas.

“Mankind’s need for the promise of biotechnology to cure disease, to combat hunger, and to discover new forms of energy has never been more urgent,” said Jim Greenwood, BIO’s President and CEO. “Yet despite the extraordinary hope offered by biotechnology, government policies and the capital formation environment necessary to support these policies are insufficiently conducive to enable our industry to most effectively meet these challenges.  Our policy proposals are designed to improve the odds for biotech innovation and the patients and communities we serve.”

BIO’s 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. BIO plans to 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.

“BIO has consistently succeeded in contributing to the development of important and effective policy at the federal, state and international levels,” said Greenwood. “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.”

To that end, BIO interviewed thought leaders within and outside of the industry for the purpose of developing game-changing strategies to bolster biotech innovation. BIO enlisted the support of Dr. Elias Zerhouni, the former Director of the National Institutes of Health, to conduct an analysis of industry challenges 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 for patients and consumers.

Members of BIO’s Board of Directors and staff then worked to review these ideas, debate their merits, and consider additional approaches to develop a targeted national policy strategy to address these two key challenges. Additionally, BIO sought, and will continue to seek, input from Members of Congress, federal agencies and institutes, patient organizations, former high-level government employees, former Members of Congress, and other policy experts.

“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,” said Greenwood.

The BIO International Convention wraps up tomorrow in Washington, D.C. The Convention is the largest global event for the biotechnology industry, offering networking and partnering opportunities with policymakers, scientists, CEOs and newsmakers, and hundreds of sessions covering biotech trends, policy issues and technological innovations. For more information, visit http://convention.bio.org.

Download a fact sheet about the proposals.

About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.