Washington, D.C. (September 14, 2011)
— America's biopharmaceutical research companies have 901 biotechnology medicines and vaccines in development to target more than 100 debilitating and life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, arthritis and diabetes, according to a new report
by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). The medicines in development
—all in either clinical trials or under Food and Drug Administration review—include 353 for cancer and related conditions, 187 for infectious diseases, 69 for autoimmune diseases and 59 for cardiovascular diseases.
Biotechnology has opened the door to the discovery and development of new types of human therapeutics. Advancements in both cellular and molecular biology have allowed scientists to identify and develop a host of new products. These cutting-edge medicines provide significant clinical benefits, and in many cases, address therapeutic categories where no effective treatment previously existed.
“Biotechnology can offer patients and their doctors better healthcare choices that save and improve life. New therapies are changing how some human diseases are prevented and others are treated,” said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. Innovative, targeted therapies offer enormous potential to address unmet medical needs of patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and many other serious diseases. These medicines also hold the potential to help us meet the challenge of rising healthcare costs by avoiding treatment complications and making sure each patient gets the most effective care possible.
Approved biotechnology medicines already treat or help prevent heart attacks, stroke, multiple sclerosis, leukemia, hepatitis, congestive heart failure, lymphoma, kidney cancer, cystic fibrosis, and other diseases. These medicines use many different approaches to treat disease as do medicines currently in the pipeline. According to the report, there are 300 monoclonal antibodies, a laboratory-made version of the naturally occurring immune system protein that binds to and neutralizes foreign invaders; 298 vaccines, a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease; 23 antisense drugs, medicines that interfere with the communication process that tells a cell to produce an unwanted protein; and 20 interferons, proteins that interfere with the ability of a cell to reproduce.
The practice of medicine has changed dramatically over the years through pioneering advances in biotechnology research and innovation, and patients continue to benefit from the treatments that are being developed. As medicines that address significant unmet needs are developed, future innovations in biotechnology research will bring exciting new advances to help more patients.