Several Important Pieces of the R&D Puzzle

Week in Review: Several Important Pieces of the R&D Puzzle

01.17.14 | By Kaelan Hollon

Like a complex puzzle, the research and development (R&D) process for new medicines requires many pieces to work concurrently to ensure success. From the patients who inspire us to the experts behind the research, every part is critical to a prosperous pipeline for patients suffering from some of the world’s most debilitating diseases.

We were reminded this week that patients continue to be the most important piece to the R&D puzzle with Stephanie Fischer’s blog post discussing the rare disease Progeria, a genetic disorder that causes accelerated aging, resulting in an average life expectancy of just 13 years. In 2013, only 103 children worldwide were known to have the disease, and one of them was Sam Berns, an inspiring 17 year old who passed away last week due to complications from the disease. Sam touched the lives of many, including National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins who, thanks to Sam’s enthusiastic, ‘defeat-the-odds’ spirit, was reminded that medical research is about real people whose hopes and dreams depend on the research and development process. Biopharmaceutical R&D can often be a long and difficult road, but it is the hope that each new treatment will improve the lives of patients that drives our dedication and determination to discover innovative new medicines.

Of course, the development of new treatments is not possible without the hard work of the researchers. On January 22, we are co-hosting the STEM Saves Lives Forumwith U.S. News and World Report where experts from the STEM community, academia and biopharmaceutical sector will discuss the importance of science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) education to innovation. These educated workers are critical to the success of every aspect of the R&D and manufacturing processes, leading to new treatments for the nation’s most challenging and costly diseases. Without their expertise, the biopharmaceutical pipeline could slow to a dangerous pace and profoundly impact patients. Join us next week to hear experts from Amgen, Eli Lilly and Company, Cubist and others discuss the vital importance of STEM education and what can be done to close the increasing skills gap facing the U.S.

We recognize that improving the lives of patients goes well beyond the biopharmaceutical R&D process. As a result, our Conversations forum this week addressed health technology with experts weighing in on how mobile device technologies can be used to help manage chronic diseases and improve people’s health. The innovative thoughts and ideas provided by the health care community is another piece of the R&D puzzle that helps patients live longer, healthier lives.

We love to hear your thoughts; help us keep the conversation going on Twitter and Facebook, and don’t forget to follow the hashtag #STEMSavesLives on January 22 to let us know your thoughts on the importance of STEM education in the U.S.

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