Re-writing the code in a sick person's genes. Unlocking the body's hidden power to fight disease. Engineering synthetic enzymes. Regrowing organs and tissue. This is the state of biotechnology today. And even more amazing prospects lie just on the horizon. As a result, lives are being saved, improved and lengthened. And we all benefit, not just from more quality time with our loved ones, but from the value of a healthy population.
Life expectancy in the U.S. has risen steadily from 76.8 years in 2000 to 78.8 years in 2013.1 Bioscience breakthroughs and increasing life expectancy are directly linked. It was estimated that 73% of the increase in life span from 2000 - 2009 can be attributed to the use of innovative medical products.2 Add to that more recent curative therapies like the ones that have provided a solution to Hepatitis C; RNA drugs that can actually alter biological functions on a cellular level; and drugs for cancers that help the body's own immune system to fight disease, and the contributions of biopharmaceuticals to life are nothing short of miraculous.
These breakthroughs are the result of thousands of drugs and therapies, countless tests and clinical trials and millions of scientists, researchers, doctors and others working throughout the industry.
American biopharmaceutical companies deliver more new drugs than the rest of the world combined. And they deliver for the economy, too. In 2014, U.S. bioscience companies employed 1.66 million personnel across more than 77,000 companies. Overall industry employment has increased for four consecutive years.3
Of the 5,000 clinical programs currently underway globally, 70 percent are being conducted by small companies.4 These emerging companies usually begin with personal investments from family, friends, or angel investors willing to take a chance on America’s brightest scientists. We need to keep attracting young researchers to these fields and new investors to these companies so that they can spend the time and money necessary to fulfill the incredible promise of the future.
It is expensive. Biopharma has the highest rate of R&D reinvestment of any industry in the U.S. – about 19% of its revenue. And globally, R&D investments for biopharma companies equal more than 4 and a half times the entire budget for the National Institutes of Health.5
But it is worth it. Biotechnology provides hope for countless patients. Through the investments we’re making today, we can deliver even more hope tomorrow. That research – for the next treatment, the next cure, or the next vaccine – is underway right now.