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Jobs and Innovation Are Keywords for State of the Union

January 25, 2011
President Obama is right to focus on innovation and jobs in his State of the Union speech tonight, particularly the need to create and fill new jobs to compete in an increasing competitive global marketplace. Notably, the President also called for investments in biomedical research and clean energy technologies. There’s no industry better poised to meet these challenges than biotechnology.

Nationwide, our industry directly employs more than 1.4 million people and indirectly generates jobs for an additional 6.6 million people. Since 2001, our industry has added nearly 200,000 jobs. This is quite an accomplishment in the midst of a deep recession, and a sign that this industry can be a driver of economic growth. And these are high-quality jobs, paying Americans substantially more than the average U.S. wage.

Quite literally we are just what the doctor – and president – has ordered. The right policies will help create jobs, propel continued innovation, and increase our nation’s competitiveness in the global marketplace for years to come.

Strong patent protection, balanced reimbursement policies, science-based regulations and other pro-innovation public policies are some of the tools that will help our industry fulfill our promise.

Targeted programs like the Therapeutic Discovery Project (TDP) --  which awarded tax credits to small cutting-edge biotech companies to support research and development efforts to cure diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis -- can help spur continued medical innovation, create and preserve American jobs, and position our nation for continued leadership in the global marketplace.

The biotechnology industry, which provides the key technology for producing advanced biofuels and biobased products from renewable biomass, can generate thousands of new green jobs in the United States by developing secure and sustainable sources of domestic energy.

Agricultural biotechnology provides new tools for increasing crop yields, developing farming practices that benefit the environment, increasing agricultural sustainability, improving animal health and welfare, and enhancing livestock productivity. While the science has repeatedly demonstrated that biotech seeds, crops and foods produced through biotechnology are as safe as their conventional counterparts, approval of these products has been slow in coming in some overseas markets. Export markets must remain clear and unobstructed by unreasonable trade barriers.

America is the world leader in biotechnology. We look forward to working with President Obama, members of his Administration and the Congress in support of public policies that encourage investment in biotechnology innovation.