The Winning Innovation Equation at BIO

At BIO International Convention (BIO), histories and futures meet in the present. In all, more than 1,000 biotech companies and stakeholders come together to recognize and expand a history of delivering brighter futures.

Ashanti DeSilva, the world’s first gene therapy recipient, took the BIO stage alongside Robin Roberts, who was most recently treated for myelodysplastic syndrome by a successful clinical trial application. Storied pharmaceutical giants partnered with individual researchers and startups to make shared progress. Thought leaders discussed challenges and proposed opportunities in the innovation ecosystem.

One common thread throughout the countless conversations on biotech advancement: smart innovation policy. Specifically, the power of strong intellectual property protections to spur risky biotech research and development and the importance of maintaining fair value for innovation.

Strong intellectual property protections and mechanisms that maintain fair value for innovation incentivize innovative activity. They give tangible value to ideas and safeguard them from theft and other unfair market practices.

It takes on average 12 to 15 years and more than 2 billion dollars to bring a new drug to market. Additionally, for every 25,000 drug compounds that start in the laboratory, 25 are tested in humans, 5 make it to market, and only one recoups the cost invested.

Intellectual property protections and mechanisms that maintain fair value for innovation promise investors that the one medicine that reaches the pharmacy shelf will help recoup the costs put into not just that successful medicine, but all those that failed before it. Effective innovation policy allows companies to then reinvest in future treatments and cures.

Without effective innovation policy, the business of innovation isn’t viable. This is especially true considering more than half of the novel drugs developed in the United States and approved by the FDA have been developed by small companies, i.e. companies with less than 500 employees. The biotech and pharmaceutical industry isn’t a cluster of giant corporations with room for failure; small businesses and startups are routinely chancing it all on new discovery and invention with the support of effective innovation policy.

In short, innovation doesn’t just happen. Enabling conditions – including strong intellectual property protections and mechanisms that maintain fair value for innovation – spark investment, which drives innovation and access. It’s the innovation equation that fuels groundbreaking treatments and cures.

The rise of CAR-T transformative cancer therapy, advancement made in gene editing and replacement, and the wide spectrum of work in emerging fields like biomanufacturing, biofuels, and nanotechnology, are all the result of smart innovation policy. Patients are depending on biotech to deliver the next generation of health progress today. And patients can only be patient for so long.

Courtney Paul is the manager of communications for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center.

Subscribe for updates from GIPC