#PhRMA13 Morning Panelists Off To a Rollicking Start

Panelists explain how cities can be bioscience leaders and innovation stakeholders can collaborate better

04.11.13 | By

The morning panels of PhRMA's Annual Meeting provided a welcome blast of new thinking on how to create a positive geography for innovation, and further how that science gets done. As an added bonus, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom gave a super-charged address explaining how a state in grave economic flux plans to keep their leadership in bioscience.

PhRMA Chairman and Lilly President and CEO John Lechleiter opened the meeting, discussing the value of medicine and noted that it’s a pivotal time for the biopharmaceutical industry, as health care spending is a driver of our nation’s long-term fiscal growth, while medicine remains the most cost-efficient element of our healthcare system.   

First up, "The San Diego Innovation Story" invited local venture capital and bioscience leaders to talk through what makes San Diego 'click' with bioscience, and how to foster policies that work.

Hale BioPharma Ventures CEO David Hale gave a passionate invective explaining what San Diego has done right, and how other cities can emulate their success. Hale noted that four or five factors influenced, in his opinion, what made San Diego the hotbed for biopharma it is today. A strong technology base, a wealth of relationships with venture capital firms, a common interest in fostering good intellectual property protections, and local executives' ability to branch out into other San Diego biotech firms all contributed to the strength of the local bioscience climate. Moreover, those platforms of support enabled the most important element of a strong bioscience-focused city: the ability of scientists to take risks, in their investigation of new medicines and treatments.

The introduction of bioscience to San Diego was a game-changer; prior to adoption of pro-innovation policies locally, Ivor Royston of Forward Ventures noted that the primary economic drivers were "fishing and defense contract work". But the physical clustering of several small firms worked well alongside a supportive university culture that, as Dr. Sandra Brown of UC San Diego noted, provided the "creative juice" behind the success, and made it easier for collaboration to happen. As Duane Roth of CONNECT noted, "It's easier to collaborate when you can walk across the street and say hello."

California's Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom spoke next, his enthusiasm for the biopharmaceutical industry tempered only by his realization that California must work harder to be a good partner to the industry. It was a spirited call for collaboration between a state whose biopharmaceutical employees total more than the motion picture industry, the aerospace industry or even the wine industry. "California has to lead again, and you're a big part of that future. We're going to do better," Newsom enthused, and seemed passionately ready to prove it.

The final panel of the afternoon highlighted the nuts and bolts behind making science happen with Dr. Jan Lundberg of Lilly Research Laboratories, Dr. Francis Collins of the NIH, Dr. Anne Peters of USC Clinical Diabetes Programs and Dr. Thomas Daniel of Celgene speaking to new modes of collaborative research. Dr. Collins, in particular, noted that pre-competitive collaboration was essential on behalf of all innovation stakeholders.

Further, Thomas Daniel noted that in order to push emerging technologies forward, we have to create a regulatory and payor framework that makes it happen.

This afternoon's panel on disrupting innovation promises to further the arguments presented on this morning's research panel, and will likely prove a lively discussion on concepts presented this morning. Stay tuned for further highlights of #PhRMA13!



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