BOSTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., president and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), praised the Bay State for its investment in biotechnology and provided insight into the future of life sciences and a roadmap for ensuring the state's significant investment is rewarded. He made his remarks to the Massachusetts Biz/Bio Conference, a gathering of policymakers, business leaders and academics, under the theme "Economic Prosperity through Scientific Discovery." Massachusetts workers have enjoyed a 10 percent rise in the number of biopharmaceutical jobs, according to reports from Northeastern University, which contrasts favorably against the 25 percent decline in overall manufacturing jobs in the first half of the decade.
"This state really stands out for the approach that you've taken to developing the life-sciences sector - a sector in 'a Golden Age of discovery,'" said Lechleiter. He continued: "In Massachusetts, your legislature is about to make a dramatic, $1 billion public investment in the life sciences - through tax incentives, grants, and capital projects. That gives you an even larger stake in protecting the ability of biotech businesses to succeed, which is the basis of our ability to create jobs."
Lechleiter measured the region's commitment to biotechnology in several ways while noting that ongoing public policy debates would determine how well the region's investment could pay off. For example, he said Greater Boston ranks second only to San Diego in the Milken Institute's ranking of life-sciences clusters, and he tallied the economic impact of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries on the state at more than $5 billion a year.
These investments, he remarked, reflect a new reality: a third of the new molecules in Lilly's development pipeline are not the traditional, chemical ("small molecule") compounds, but rather "large molecule" drugs synthesized from biological sources. Many other innovative companies are investing in these molecules, as well. One of the key public policy prescriptions he gave to better secure the state's biotech investment is passage of a bill that would ensure that intellectual property and data around biologics are appropriately protected. That legislation, the "Pathway for Biosimilars Act" (H.R. 5629), is now before Congress and is sponsored by several members of Massachusetts congressional delegation, including Reps. Michael Capuano, William Delahunt, Stephen F. Lynch and James P. McGovern. Without such protections, Lechleiter said, "the rationale for such investment will simply collapse in many cases."
He further called on policymakers to support fixing the country's immigration system to allow top-notch talent to come to the U.S. to foster innovation and research. And he stressed the importance of transparency on the part of regulators in setting their expectations and requirements of drug developers.
The Biz/Bio Program was established in 2004 to build "bridges of understanding" between key sectors - from government and financial interests to academic and pharmaceutical/biotech leaders - to establish and maintain a healthy environment for building and sustaining local and regional bioscience clusters.
The full text of Lechleiter's speech can be obtained at www.lilly.com.
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers - through medicines and information - for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com.
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SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company