BOSTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., president and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), provided insight into the future of life sciences and a roadmap for ensuring that key players' significant investments in the sector are 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." He suggested that the Boston area provides a template for other communities across America, citing reports from Northeastern University that show that Massachusetts has enjoyed a 10 percent rise in the number of biopharmaceutical jobs while there has been a 25 percent decline in overall manufacturing jobs in the first half of the decade. But those gains and others rely on public policies that support growth in the life sciences, he said.
"Massachusetts really stands out for the approach that you've taken to developing the life-sciences sector," said Lechleiter - a sector he said is in "a Golden Age of discovery." He continued: "I believe that we [in the U.S.] are being challenged as never before, to make urgent and unprecedented policy decisions about a very wide range of issues that will determine not just the location, but also the speed, quality, and course of innovation in the life sciences. Government and public policy will be the focus of much of this decision-making."
Among the range of public policies that bear on whether and how biotech investments pay off, the intellectual property protections the government affords new medications ranks among the top of the list, he said. Intellectual property protections for a class of medications called "biologics," is a policy battle now just heating up on Capitol Hill. Lechleiter noted that 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. He urged Congress to act decisively in ensuring that intellectual property and data around biologics are appropriately protected by passing the "Pathway for Biosimilars Act" (H.R. 5629). Without such protections, he said, "the rationale for such investment will simply collapse in many cases."
Lechleiter 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