BIO hearts you

February 14, 2020
Happy Valentine’s Day! After a busy week, we’re taking a look at how biotechnology will affect everything from the chocolate and flowers you might give or receive today, to, quite literally, the health of human hearts, in a quick 688 words, or 3 and a half minutes. We…

Happy Valentine’s Day! After a busy week, we’re taking a look at how biotechnology will affect everything from the chocolate and flowers you might give or receive today, to, quite literally, the health of human hearts, in a quick 688 words, or 3 and a half minutes.

We’re taking Monday off for Presidents’ Day. We’ll be back on Tuesday, February 18, with regularly scheduled programming.

BIO hearts you

February is, appropriately, American Heart Month, a campaign to raise awareness about heart disease—the #1 cause of death among men, women, and almost every racial and ethnic group in the United States. So, today, before we indulge in the candy hearts, we want to examine the state of investment in real ones. 

ICYMI: BIO released The State of Investment and Innovation in Hypertension and Heart Failure, the fifth report in a series exploring the innovation landscape of highly prevalent, chronic diseases.

Cardiovascular disease costs the American healthcare system more than twice as much as cancer—but over the last decade, there has been 13 times more investment in cancer treatments than cardiovascular therapies.

The clinical pipeline for cardiovascular therapies has grown just 3% over four years—a small fraction compared to the immunology and cancer pipelines.

Hypertension is getting ghosted. Only one new drug class has been approved for hypertension in 20 years. Phase I trial initiations have declined from 16 between 2009-2014 to just seven between 2012-2018. 

But heart failure gets a little more love. There are three times more novel programs for heart failure than hypertension. Phase II trials have grown from just two in 2009 to eight in 2018, though Phase III trials are still quite low. 

BIO’s take: BIO views drug innovation as the key to helping patients with cardiovascular disease. Advancements in science, more choices for patients, and a policy environment that stimulates greater investment in R&D are necessary to achieve this goal. And this policy environment does not include an international price index that will threaten the already limited investment in these diseases. 

Valentine’s Day is a good day to think about your heart. But it’s important to think about heart health all year long—and especially, how policy will impact future treatments for a disease that affects so many.


More Health Care News: 

Bloomberg: White House says other countries don’t pay enough for drugs
“The report published Thursday by the White House Council of Economic Advisers argues that coordinated drug-purchasing efforts in other countries, often by government-run programs, result in lower drug costs compared to the U.S. The report describes the practice as ‘free-riding.’”


How biotech is saving Valentine’s Day


We consume nearly 60 million pounds of chocolate around Valentine’s Day—but with the cacao tree threatened by pests, disease, and climate change, our truffles might be at risk. Innovature took a look at how biotechnology is working to save everyone’s favorite Valentine’s gifts.

But first, chocolate. West Africa produces 2/3 of the world’s cocoa—but one severe outbreak of fungal disease can wipe out an entire farm, reports Innovature, which is a problem not only for candy lovers but also, more importantly, for people’s livelihoods.

Gene editing can help. Scientists at Penn State University have developed a new variety of cacao that’s resistant to certain diseases, while other researchers are exploring how to make the trees better able to withstand climate change, too.

You don't bring me flowers anymore. Pests and disease threaten rose crops, but scientists are making progress on tweaking the popular Old Bush rose to be resistant to these challenges, and sweeter smelling, too.

But if your tastes are more champagne than chocolate, you can also thank biotech—because French researchers are developing hybrid grape varieties to better withstand temperature fluctuations, ensuring they maintain the essential flavor and acidity to make champagne. 

Why it matters: Sure, everyone loves chocolate, champagne, and beautiful bouquets—but it’s bigger than the Hallmark holiday. With biotech, we can ensure the longevity and sustainability of our food supply and related jobs around the world. However, we must ensure this technology is not unnecessarily regulated, so these products can make it to the store shelves.   


More Agriculture & Environment News:

Foreign Policy: Coronavirus threatens to blow up Trump’s energy trade deal with China
“While it was always going to be a stretch to meet the ambitious Chinese purchase targets laid out in the agreement, the recent explosion of the coronavirus and the impact it has had on China’s economic growth have now made those grandiose energy visions completely unrealistic—just as Trump takes to the campaign trail to tout the deal’s benefits ahead of his reelection bid.”

BIO Beltway Report

President Trump’s Friday: Intel briefing, speaking to the National Border Patrol Council, then heading to Mar-A-Lago for the holiday weekend. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Not much, because the House and Senate are heading home to the districts for the week-long recess for Presidents’ Day.

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