Saving Lives

Modern biotechnology is a young industry. But in just over four decades, the scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs working in this field have firmly established themselves at the forefront of medical innovation. The innovations and research coming from these enterprises have led to the successful development of new cures and therapies that are transforming the way we treat patients for a wide range of diseases, including:

  • Hepatitis C—a once-incurable disease that now has a cure rate of over 90%;1
  • “HIV/AIDS—Once a death sentence, it’s essentially a manageable chronic condition now. According to Bloomberg, some 36% of HIV-positive adults in developed countries are now 50 or over, up from 13% in 2000, according to UNAIDS. By 2020, more than 70% of HIV-positive people in the U.S. will be over 50, according to the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America.”2
  • Cancer—83% of children with cancer now survive, compared to 58% in the mid-1970s3
  • More than 730,000 children’s lives in the U.S. have been saved in the last 20 years because of advances in vaccines.4

It is an important and exciting time for medical innovation. Science and innovation are galloping forward and we are on the cusp of the next generation of medical breakthroughs, including gene therapy, immunotherapy and RNAi therapy. These innovations are poised to transform medicine in the 21st century.

Success in getting these new innovations across the finish line rests greatly on one key factor: the ability to attract the enormous amounts of private capital required to fund these challenging and incredibly risky endeavors. This ability, in turn, depends on a public policy environment that supports innovation and incentivizes such investment, including continued advancement of scientific understanding; strong intellectual property (IP) rights and a reliable system for IP transfer, licensing, and collaboration; an efficient and predictable regulatory review process; and efficient healthcare markets that reward innovation and encourage free market competition.

Setbacks across any one or more of these areas could cause the entire innovation ecosystem to falter, but the challenge can be particularly acute when it comes to capital formation. Private investment can flow to and shift among many different sectors, and investors have shown that they will flee areas like biotechnology when they think policy decisions could adversely impact an already risky investment.




  1. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm405642.htm, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1214853#t=article
  2. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-06/the-graying-face-of-hiv-spurs-race-to-simplify-therapies
  3. http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/childhood-cancer/statistics
  4. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/15/science/732000-american-lives-saved-by-vaccination.html http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0424-immunization-program.html

Aging Epidemic

More people with HIV are living to retirement age and beyond.

Source: UNAIDS estimates
HIV patients 50 and over as a percentage of all HIV-positive adults in North America, Western and Central Europe.