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Biotechnology - Creating a positive political and social environment

June 29, 2011
“I think it’s important that government stands up for proper science,” Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said during the Tuesday keynote luncheon at the 2001 BIO International Convention. “You know I had a lot of battles over this when I was prime minister – with various groups.”

This was a familiar story to many of the attendees who regularly face a number of social and political hurdles in bringing their innovative products to market: from taking 10-15 years for new medicines to reach patients to companies having to lay-off researchers and kill projects because investors can’t afford to risk funding early stage companies.

“Imagine the difference it would make if every country’s government made biotech innovation a national priority,” BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood said in his state of the industry address. “Is that too much to ask?”

Every day biotechnology products are saving lives, reducing greenhouse house emissions and feeding the world.  That’s why BIO has embarked on constructing a comprehensive legislative proposal—BIO’s first ever five year plan—to create a biotech friendly regulatory and political climate.

BIO’s plan includes: new capital formation proposals, regulatory reform provisions, a new progressive approval pathway, and more investment in biotech research.

The biotech industry has accomplished much, according to Greenwood: hundreds of biologic treatments and cures for deadly diseases; biotech crops feeding millions and creating new opportunities for poor farmers in developing countries; and biofuels and bio-based products saving resources and reducing pollution.

What the country needs, however, is the political and social environment to build upon what we’ve achieved in biotech and fully unleash the power of biotechnology, because as Tony Blair said during the keynote, “Every time humanity has tried to stop science from telling it the truth about our world, it’s been a disaster.”