Good Day BIO: 'Our pipeline is our future.'

October 18, 2021
Congress is back—and we’re watching to see what happens with drug price controls. We have more on the importance of investment in R&D for future cures—and why price controls would harm this—as well as airlines taking SAF to new heights.  (927 words, 4 minutes, 38…
BIO

Congress is back—and we’re watching to see what happens with drug price controls. We have more on the importance of investment in R&D for future cures—and why price controls would harm this—as well as airlines taking SAF to new heights.  (927 words, 4 minutes, 38 seconds)

But before we dive in, BIO would like to pay tribute to Gen. Colin Powell who passed away this morning from COVID-19 complications. The former Secretary of State’s death illustrates that the pandemic is still not over for many—even for those fully vaccinated—and that we must continue respecting COVID guidelines if we are to end this pandemic.

 

'Our pipeline is our future.'

 
 

Developing new drugs requires huge investments in time and money, often with frustrating results—but discovering new cures for patients is what drives the industry. Now, we must ensure that price controls don’t cause needed investment to dry up.

“Our pipeline is our future. It’s an engine that will drive us 5, 10 and 20 years from now,” explains AbbVie Chairman and CEO Richard A. Gonzalez.

AbbVie has spent almost $50 billion on drug development since their inception in 2013—but “most new molecules never make it out of the lab, and it takes hard work and dedication to translate foundational science into a viable new medicine."

There are a few things Gonzalez wants you to know about R&D investment:

  1. “R&D involves taking big risks.” “It takes an average of 10 years and $2 to $3 billion to bring one new medicine to market. Less than 12% of new molecular entities that enter clinical trials” receive FDA approval.
  2. The pipeline attracts great minds. “The top scientists in their fields come to AbbVie” because a willingness to invest in R&D means a potential to make real breakthroughs.
  3. “Existing medicines” support R&D investment. “Revenue generated by our on-market medicines supports our ongoing R&D investment, funding future treatments and cures. And our R&D work does not end when a medicine is approved.”
  4. R&D investment yields future cures. AbbVie’s desire to thrive keeps the company seeking new medicines for more ailments.  

But drug price controls like those proposed in H.R. 3 are “associated with a 0.5 percent average annual reduction in the number of new drugs entering the market in the first decade...increasing to an 8 percent annual average reduction in the third decade,” said the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). That’s nearly 60 forgone medicines in the first three decades alone.

“Such draconian measures would immediately halt private funding of drug discovery and development,” wrote 400 investors and small biotechs. “The loss of hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs would be swift, though it may take longer for the public to sense the loss of future treatments and cures.”

So, what’s next? H.R. 3 stalled in last month’s reconciliation markup, and Speaker Pelosi said last week she would now support a scaled-back drug pricing measure—but what that looks like remains unknown. BIO will continue to keep the pressure on Congress to oppose misguided plans that would hurt patients and investment in future curesjoin us

Listen: Investors, small biotechs, and patients agree—drug price controls will harm future cures. BIO’s Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath spoke to stakeholders across the pharmaceutical ecosystem to uncover why—listen at Apple, Google, or Spotify.

 

More Health Care News:

Biopharma Dive: FDA panel endorses second shot for adults who received J&J vaccine
“In a 19-0 vote, the panel supported authorization of a second J&J shot for adults 18 and over, clearing the way for a likely positive FDA decision. Under the panel's guidance, people who received one dose of J&J's shot would be eligible for a second at least two months after their initial vaccination.”

 
 
 
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Support for SAF is taking off

 
 

JetBlue and Delta announced separate deals in recent weeks to purchase more than $1 billion each in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)—the latest example of airlines embracing a solution considered one of the fastest ways to reduce air travel’s environmental impact.

Why SAF? Made from renewable biomass and waste feedstocks, SAF can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to conventional jet fuel—making it an important biotech solution for climate

“Thanks to biotechnology, fuel producers are harnessing the power of crops like canola and soybeans, municipal solid waste, corn, and even algae to produce low-carbon fuels,” says BIO’s Cornelia Poku

JetBlue’s SAF “will be sourced partly from waste fats, oils, and grease. The remainder will come from oilseeds,” explains TriplePundit. This will be the “first large-scale purchase of made-in-America SAF” for JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports. 

Delta is “utilizing cellulosic hydrogen from waste forest and orchard wood along with onsite carbon sequestration,” says the head of Aemetis, the California biofuel manufacturer partnering with Delta. 

These are two examples of how the aviation sector is increasing production of SAF to reduce emissions. Airlines and SAF producers joined the White House in announcing a plan to reduce aviation emissions 20% by 2030 by boosting SAF production to 3 billion gallons, while 50+ companies have pledged to replace 10% of the global aviation fuel supply with SAFs by 2030. 

Ahead of COP26—considered by many the last chance to get “runaway climate change” under control–the CEO of London’s Heathrow Airport said the summit provides an opportunity to highlight the value of SAF. (We hope he’s right.) 

BIO’s on board. BIO backs a proposed SAF tax credit, to support “blenders that supply sustainable aviation fuel with a demonstrated 50% or greater lifecycle estimate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.” 

Listen: Alternative to Flying Dirty 



Additional Agriculture & Environment News:

Bayou Fuels: Velocys launches new website for its Bayou Fuels project
"The Bayou Fuels plant will enable the commercial-scale production of negative-carbon liquid fuels. It will utilise waste woody biomass feedstock, renewable power and carbon capture and storage to help deliver net zero carbon aviation by 2050."

 
 
 
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Join BIO's Dr. Michelle at the NORD Breakthrough Summit today, October 18.
 
 

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) will host the NORD Breakthrough Summit this week, bringing together rare disease experts and leaders from patient advocacy groups, government, industry, and academia. Today, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath will speak on the impact of COVID-19 on rare disease research, clinical trials, and drug development—get the details and follow along on social media with #NORDSummit.

 
 
 
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BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
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President Biden’s Monday: No public meetings scheduled today, though expect focus to be on the next steps for Biden’s budget. Yesterday, he gave a speech commemorating fallen police officers

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Back to work. The Senate will consider federal judgeships. The coming days and weeks will see continued debate over Biden’s budget; Democrats are now weighing a carbon tax to fund climate initiatives, reports The New York Times.

 
 
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