Good Day BIO: Why we need more investment in neurodegenerative diseases

July 30, 2021
Closing the week with what BIO’s Dr. Cartier Esham said yesterday about investment in neurodegenerative disease—and BIO’s recommendations for advancing clinical development in this area. Also, details on USDA's new report on the economic benefits of the bioeconomy and…
BIO

Closing the week with what BIO’s Dr. Cartier Esham said yesterday about investment in neurodegenerative disease—and BIO’s recommendations for advancing clinical development in this area. Also, details on USDA's new report on the economic benefits of the bioeconomy and a new I am BIO video. (756 words, 3 minutes 46 seconds)

 

BIO testifies on need for more investment in neurodegenerative diseases

 
 

BIO’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Cartier Esham testified before the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee yesterday on the need for more investment and dialogue to increase development of biopharmaceuticals for neurodegenerative diseases. 

An estimated 50 million Americans are impacted by neurodegenerative disorders annually, Subcommittee Chair Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) said

“Lack of investment, difficult drug approval processes, and limited understanding of these extremely heterogenous diseases” are obstacles, she said“Neurologic drugs take, on average, 57% longer to reach approval than drugs for other disease areas.”

“In 2021, we counted 653 clinical development programs for medicines to treat neurological diseases, 43% of which are for neurodegenerative medicines,” said Dr. Esham, citing BIO’s clinical development pipeline tracker. “By comparison, there are 2,798 oncology clinical development programs.”

Investment in neurological drugs has been growing, to “$1.7 billion in 2020, a four-fold increase from 2012,” but still less than the $7 billion going to oncology. 

However: “The success rate for neurological programs transitioning from Phase 2 to Phase 3 is 26.8%, which ranks 11th out of the 16 disease categories we analyzed,” Dr. Esham continued, citing a BIO report published in February

Industry is working with FDA to address a key issue in neurological clinical trials: definition of endpoints, Dr. Esham added.

BIO’s recommendations include:

  • “Policies supporting efficient and effective regulatory environments.”
  • “Expanded utilization of biomarkers” in endpoints, to determine what works.
  • “Continued funding of basic research.” 

The big picture: “The growing Alzheimer’s disease epidemic is expected to affect more than 13.8 million people in the U.S. by 2050 and cost well over $1 trillion annually,” said Dr. Esham, citing BIO’s report on innovation addressing Alzheimer’s.

The bottom line: While there are significant scientific and development challenges—as well as less-than-ideal investment—BIO members continue to innovate and stand ready to work with Congress to advance a modern, patient-centric, and inclusive clinical development paradigm. 
 

More Health Care News: 

The Washington Post: Alarming CDC document outlines dangers of delta variant
"The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document. … It cites a combination of recently obtained, still-unpublished data from outbreak investigations and outside studies showing that vaccinated individuals infected with delta may be able to transmit the virus as easily as those who are unvaccinated.” 

Timmerman Report: An industry that depends on diversity should defend it
“To lead a company charged with creating ‘living’ biologic medicines in 2021 is to understand, as a fundamental matter of science, the life-sustaining value of biological diversity,” writes BIO Chair Paul Hastings.

 
 
 
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Biobased products boost the economy, says USDA report

 
 

But you already knew that, right? 

The U.S. biobased products industry supports nearly 5 million jobs and contributes almost half a trillion dollars to the economy, says USDA’s report on the economic impact of the sector released yesterday. The report looks at biobased products, such as bioplastics, but does not cover biobased fuels. 

See USDA’s report infographic

These jobs have a knock-on effect: “For every 1 Biobased Products industry job, 1.79 additional jobs are supported in the United States.”

The report was released on the 10th Anniversary of the USDA’s Certified Biobased Product Label, which seeks to spur economic development while promoting use of biobased products as a sustainable alternative to traditional products. “As of June 2021, the BioPreferred Program Catalog includes more than 16,000 registered products,” says USDA

In addition to economic impact, the report mentions the comparatively better-known environmental benefits of these products. “Biobased products displace approximately 9.4 million barrels of oil annually, and have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 12.7 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents per year,” said a USDA statement.

As we’ve pointed out, biotechnology is helping to address countless environmental challenges—such as the pandemic of plastic pollution with sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging, among many other biotech solutions for climate. USDA’s new report adds to the conversation by highlighting the many economic benefits, too.   

Learn more about the BIO members using biobased manufacturing to help solve climate change and create economic growth.

 
 
 
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I am BIO: Meet Rebecca
 
 

While a young nursing student, Rebecca was diagnosed with stage 3B lung cancer—but she wasn't a smoker.

After having her entire left lung removed, she started volunteering with the American Lung Association—giving a voice to patients like her so policymakers understand the impact of their work.

Watch Rebecca tell her story at I am BIO.

 
 
 
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BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
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President Biden’s Friday: Meeting governors to discuss wildfires, followed by a meeting with Cuban American leaders about recent demonstrations in Cuba and the administration’s response. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The Senate will resume consideration of an infrastructure package, which could vindicate President Biden’s faith in bipartisanship, according to the New York Times. The House Rules Committee will hold a hearing on the eviction moratorium established due to COVID. President Biden has called for a one-month extension.

 
 
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