More Than One-Quarter Billion People Benefit From Medical Biotechnology

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 21, 2000) A Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) survey found that more than one-quarter billion people worldwide have benefited from biotech drugs and vaccines.

The BIO study was based on the approximate number of people who have been helped directly by biotech drugs and vaccines currently on the market. Biotech drugs and vaccines are classified as those medicines developed through cellular or molecular processes.

BIO President Carl Feldbaum said, The first medical biotech product is less than 20 years old and already 270 million patients have been helped by this technology. This rapid progress demonstrates the potential of our young industry to develop cures and therapies for debilitating diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and various forms of cancer.

The magnitude of this number only represents the tip of the iceberg, said Feldbaum, since the biotechnology industry currently has more than 350 medicines in late-stage (Phase II and III) clinical trials. Over the last five years there has been a record number of biotech approvals by the FDA. Between 1995 and 1999, 62 new products were approved, a significant increase over the previous 14 years. Currently, nearly 100 biotech drugs and vaccines have been approved by the FDA.

Non-medicinal applications of biotechnology are also contributing to the quality of life for people worldwide. Agricultural biotech products are helping farmers produce stronger and healthier crops. Industrial biotech products are making manufacturing cleaner and more efficient.

BIO represents more than 900 companies, academic institutions and biotech centers in 50 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.