What they're talking about at JPM: costs, cures, and a big election

January 15, 2020
Today’s the day: Trump and China’s Vice Premier Liu will meet in Washington to ostensibly sign the phase one trade deal. We’ll have more tomorrow on what exactly it means…but no, the trade war’s not over yet.Until then, we’ve got news from JPM in San Francisco as well…
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Today’s the day: Trump and China’s Vice Premier Liu will meet in Washington to ostensibly sign the phase one trade deal. We’ll have more tomorrow on what exactly it means…but no, the trade war’s not over yet.

Until then, we’ve got news from JPM in San Francisco as well as a new report about the importance of a strong bioeconomy, in 732 words, or 3 minutes, 39 seconds.

What they're talking about at JPM: costs, cures, and a really big election

It’s the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco—and we’re looking at news from the event, including BIO CEO Jim Greenwood’s panel on what the 2020 election means for the biopharma industry. 

What's at stake for biopharma in 2020: The election is expected to “intensify the spotlight on drug costs” as well as regulations on new therapies and the risk of infectious disease, while both Trump and the Democratic presidential candidates are targeting the pharmaceutical industry with price controls, explained Pink Sheet.

What the political landscape means for medical innovation: “The science is galloping and we've never been able to provide as much hope to patients as now, with gene therapy, cell therapy, CRISPR and all of that,” said Jim during the session. “At the same time, this is the worst political dilemma the industry has ever faced. It’s really dire.”

But we’re still wondering why drug companies get all the blame for out-of-pocket costs—because hospital execs speaking at the conference acknowledged “their industry is contributing to patients' financial turmoil, but reassured those same investors that they were focused on growing their revenue,” reported Axios

In better news: Eli Lilly is hopeful about the future of the company’s Alzheimer’s drug research as well as opportunities on cancer and new diabetes treatments, reports STAT—just one BIO member doing groundbreaking research on new cures.

 

More Health Care News:

STAT: Democrats zero in on high drug prices in Iowa debate
“Candidates uniformly criticized drug companies as examples of corporate irresponsibility and outsize political influence.”

 
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It’s the bioeconomy, duh

The U.S. bioeconomy is strong but faces a number of challenges, says a new report—which are critically important to solve to respond to the climate and economic risks this decade. 

But first, what’s the bioeconomy? Economic activity driven by research and innovation in life sciences and biotech enabled by technological advances—basically, what our members do. And it’s worth more than $950 billion, or 5% of the GDP. 

The report: Safeguarding the Bioeconomy is a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, covering the risks to the United States' leadership in the global bioeconomy and providing recommendations for how to mitigate them and grow the sector.   

The findings: “The U.S. is a clear leader in the global bioeconomy landscape, but faces challenges from decentralized leadership, inadequate talent development, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, stagnant investment in fundamental research, and international competition…As a major driver of scientific discoveries, spanning fields from agriculture to pharmaceuticals, a vulnerable bioeconomy puts the country’s economy at risk.” 

The recommendations: The report recommends the Executive Office of the President form a “coordinating body” to facilitate coordination across the science, economic, regulatory, and security agencies, as well as take steps to improve cybersecurity and attract science talent from around the world, especially to counter China’s intellectual property environment.

And luckily, some of this is in process: Last year, the Trump administration directed several agencies (including Agriculture, FDA, and EPA) to review their regulatory systems and find ways to streamline processes and remove overly burdensome regulations, a move we applauded.

Why it matters: “America is on the threshold of entering a new era of sustainable agriculture and food production, and it’s important we get this right for farmers, consumers, U.S. companies, and the world as a whole,” said BIO CEO Jim Greenwood last year. “With prudent regulations, we can foster American innovation and bring to market biology-driven solutions that are improving nutrition, reducing food waste, increasing crop yield, combating debilitating crop diseases, and advancing environmentally friendly farming practices.” And all of this will have broad implications for the climate and economy.

BIO’s take: BIO has long championed the role the bioeconomy can play in reducing environmental impact, creating jobs, and advancing innovation, especially in rural America—and this will remain a priority in 2020 and beyond.

 
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President Trump’s Wednesday: Meetings with China’s Vice Premier Liu to sign the “phase one” trade deal. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The House and Senate are in session. The House will vote to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate today; here’s a helpful explainer on what happens next from The New York Times. The Senate is expected to vote on (and pass) the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) this week, too, while the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing today on industries of the future, including biotech.

 
 
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