The new report will be released today at the 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston, Mass.
Washington, DC (June 18, 2012) – Small- to medium-sized biotechnology companies are bringing innovation to global health, according to a report published today by BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). The report shows that 134 biotechnology companies are participating in neglected disease research and development, which represents participation in 39% of the 191 new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics in development for neglected diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, dengue fever, and others.
Partnering is an important driver for today’s biotechnology companies. The new report, Biotechnology: Bringing Innovation to Neglected Disease Research and Development, finds that 64% of all products in development by biotechnology companies across the pipeline of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for neglected diseases involve partnering.
According to the report, product development partnerships (PDPs) — a unique public-private partnering mechanism created to increase biopharmaceutical participation in neglected disease R&D, government agencies, and academic institutions — are driving this biotechnology company partnering for neglected diseases. Although PDPs are the focal point of industry engagement in global health, they are the second most frequent partner to biotechnology companies after academia with involvement in 52% of partnered projects. When a PDP is not involved in a project, biotechnology partnerships with government agencies increase, especially for vaccines and diagnostics.
Across all neglected diseases, biotechnology companies work alone 36% of the time, according to the report. For tuberculosis and dengue fever, companies more frequently overcome barriers and leverage some market potential to work alone. This may be because small to medium-sized companies perceive a potential market opportunity.
“We were very pleased to see the level of the biotechnology sector’s engagement in global health research and development, as a critical source of innovation. To continue progress in addressing the unmet medical needs of the developing world, both biotechnology companies and global health groups should ramp up commitment and involvement,” says Don Joseph, CEO of BVGH. “Our new report provides specific recommendations both to biotechnology companies and neglected disease stakeholders from academia, governments, nonprofits, and foundations to increase and improve their collaborative work in neglected disease research. Accelerating solutions for these devastating diseases presents major challenges but can happen if these groups continue and increase their work together.”
While the report finds that small to medium-sized biotechnology companies are involved in 39% of all projects for neglected disease, BIO estimates there are nearly 3,000 public and private biotechnology companies worldwide. At least 90% of these companies focus on health research and development, suggesting that the 134 biotechnology companies participating in neglected disease research and development identified in the report represent about 5% of global biotechnology companies.
“It is encouraging that small- to medium-sized biotechnology companies that lead the charge in developing life-saving medicines and technologies in the developed world are so engaged in creating new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for the neglected diseases primarily affecting the poor in the developing world,” says Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of BIO. “The true value of this week’s BIO International Convention is to bring together industry leaders who can share insights and engage in discussions focused on potential collaborations that could lead to scientific breakthroughs that will address these and other global challenges.”
More than 1.4 billion people are affected by neglected diseases – the majority of those affected are poor and living in developing countries. When the term “neglected” is applied to a disease, it can carry a wide range of implications. Neglected can describe the patient population affected by the disease, the scientific effort underway to understand the disease, or the extent to which new products to prevent, diagnose, and treat a disease are being pursued. Neglected can also describe a health disparity where drugs, vaccines, or diagnostics are available and in use in wealthier or developed countries, but these technologies have not been extended to poorer countries due to challenges of cost, feasibility, or political will.
The BIO International Convention will bring together global biotechnology and pharmaceutical leaders to discuss partnering and collaborations that are focused on moving innovation forward, including scientific breakthroughs for neglected diseases that will have a global impact. More than 15,500 industry leaders will attend the Convention, including companies and advocacy organizations that are focused on finding cures and treatments for tuberculosis, malaria, and dengue fever, among others. More information on the BIO International Convention can be found at http://convention.bio.org.
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About BIO Ventures for Global Health
BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to save lives by accelerating the development of novel drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics coming from the biotechnology industry that address the unmet medical needs of the developing world. The organization works at the crossroads of biotechnology and global health to find the common ground between the goals of the global health community and the pragmatic needs of companies. For more information, please visit www.bvgh.org.
BIO represents more than 1,100 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. BIO produces BIOtechNOW <http://biotech-now.org/> , a multiblog platform and monthly newsletter that aims to create an online biotech community where the the industry can connect to discuss the latest news. Subscribe to BIOtechNOW. <http://biotech-now.org/subscribe>
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