PhRMA, BIO heads reflect on state of industry

Bethesda, MD -- A host of representatives from the biotech industry congregated in Bethesda, MD last week for the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference, which featured more than 400 companies and 50 qualified investors participating.

Among the attendees was BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood, who says PDUFA reform will be front and center on his group's legislative agency when the next session of Congress begins. 

Greenwood appeared on stage with his counterpart at PhRMA, John Castellani, who emphasized the need for the biopharma industry to demonstrate its importance to the country's economic future to the public. A survey has found that less than half of respondents view the sector as important to the future of the nation's economy--and the industry ignores this at its peril. In fact, the industry could be driven overseas, where its economic promise would be more greatly appreciated.

When asked about capital formation, Greenwood said hedge funds do not want to put funding in certain areas like diabetes, given new requirements imposed by the FDA. Greenwood hopes to be able to sit down with Congress to change incentives for studying these disease areas-pointing to the system for orphan diseases.

Regarding whether their respective organizations would take the same position on healthcare reform, Greenwood said his organization never officially took a position on the whole bill (although it did support certain parts of it). Castellani, who assumed his position after the debate, said PhRMA made the right decision in supporting the bill.

The duo appeared one day after Joshua Sharfstein, the FDA's principal deputy commissioner, gave a presentation of the FDA, past, present and future. He said the FDA is committed to setting strong standards that support the development of important products, as well as backing innovation at the agency to in turn support innovation in the biomedical sector. - Liz Jones-Hollis (twitter | email)