The golden age of medicine

October 12, 2020
BIO Investor Forum Digital kicks off tomorrow—and to get ready, Dr. Michelle talks to a biotech investor about everything from COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics to the impact of drug pricing policy on investors’ decision-making. Also, POET explains how biofuels can…

BIO Investor Forum Digital kicks off tomorrow—and to get ready, Dr. Michelle talks to a biotech investor about everything from COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics to the impact of drug pricing policy on investors’ decision-making. Also, POET explains how biofuels can help farmers and the environment. Here are around 840 words, just over 4 minutes.


The golden age of medicine


Ahead of the BIO Investor Forum Digital, Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath spoke with Alex Karnal, Partner and Managing Director at Deerfield, which manages $10 billion in assets focused on curing disease. In the latest episode of the I AM BIO Podcast, they discuss biotechnology's bright future. 

“The greatest medical threat we’ve ever faced is happening concurrently with our greatest understanding ever of how to survive and conquer it,” says BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, as we're uncovering breakthroughs in our understanding of genomics to prevent and cure disease. 

And biotech investors are some of the most important decision makers in the effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic and to bring about this “golden age of medicine.”

“We are about to enter the golden age of therapeutic development,” says Karnal. We’ll look back in 20 years and see this as “one of the most fruitful times in terms of the number of medicines we get approved, but more importantly, the level of efficacy…will also hit an unprecedented level.”

With more than 5K medicines in development today, more than half of which are “completely new approaches to eliminating disease,” he explains, “we are setting up for a tailwind of growth that’s going to drive this industry forward.” 

“The biotech industry will be one of the greatest sources of job creation, and one of the greatest resources for our country to pull us back out on the other side of COVID,” he says. 

And the key to a “thriving and productive biotech industry” in the United States is the fact that “we still have a free market,” he continues. “Free markets bring capital, they bring incredible people, and they bring an energy that allows us to solve complex problems over and over again.” 

Listen to the whole thing to hear more of Alex Karnal's thoughts on how drug pricing policy affects investors' decisions as well as his work on Governor Ned Lamont’s Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group and why diagnostics are so important to getting the country back to normal. 

Listen at or your favorite podcast platform, including AppleGoogle, or Spotify. 

Want to hear more from biotech investors? Register for BIO Investor Forum Digital.


More Health Care News: 

Axios: Regeneron CEO: Trump's success with antibody cocktail is not evidence of cure
“[T]he real evidence about how good a drug is and what it will do on average has to come from these larger clinical trials, these randomized clinical trials, which are the gold standard, and those are ongoing,” said Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer on “Face the Nation.” 


How biofuels can power a successful agriculture industry


It's “harder than ever to be an American farmer,” writes Doug Berven, VP of Corporate Affairs for POET, the biofuels producer (and BIO member) based in South Dakota. What’s the solution? Increasing the demand for biofuels—which will help both farmers and the planet.

Agricultural innovation has allowed farmers to produce more crops on less land, leading to high corn yields.

These innovations also address climate change. Practices like no-till or low-till farming and planting cover crops boost the carbon sequestration of soil and reduce GHG emissions. 

But farmers need capital to invest in this innovation—and to survive. With “record-low prices and ever-increasing carryovers," he explains, "farmers are operating at a loss, defaulting on loan payments, or making the difficult decision to get out of the industry altogether."

The solution? Biofuels: “When ethanol grew from 1% of the U.S. fuel supply to 10%...[t]otal gross farm income grew from $241.7 billion in 2000 to $483.8 billion in 2013. As the domestic market for corn from the biofuels industry grew, it soaked up enough surplus grain from 2000 to 2013 to balance the commodity markets and help make agriculture profitable.” 

“Unfortunately, since the biofuels market stopped growing in 2013, yields have continued to rise, values have declined, and farm incomes have been cut in half,” Berven continues. 

What do we need to do? POET is “working on getting higher blends of ethanol into the marketplace,” which “would provide the economic incentive to encourage farmers to employ the latest practices that will help heal the world.”

What’s BIO doing? We’re continuing to support policies like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and national and state low-carbon fuel initiatives, as well as the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which will support agricultural innovation and farmers, and in turn, heal our economy and environment. 

Read the whole thing.

BIO Beltway Report

President Trump’s Monday: According to his doctor, he’s no longer contagious, so he’s heading to Sanford, FL, for a campaign rally. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: “Republicans revolted on Saturday over President Trump’s efforts to resuscitate bipartisan stimulus talks with a $1.8 trillion offer to Democrats, balking at what they called an exorbitantly costly plan in the latest sign of steep obstacles to any deal before the election,” reported The New York Times yesterday. Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin hearings on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court; PBS has more on what to expect.

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