Press Release

Report Shows Benefits of Piedmont Region Clinical Trials

PhRMA March 10, 2014

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (March 10, 2014) –  Working with institutions in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and Burlington, the nation’s biopharmaceutical research companies have conducted over 2,000 clinical trials of new medicines in the 12-county Piedmont Triad since 1999, says a new report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

The report, “Research in Your Backyard:  Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials in the Piedmont Triad Region,” was released today at a news conference at Wake Forest Biotech Place located in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem.  Speakers included Dr. Eric Tomlinson, president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter ( and chief innovation officer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (, Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (, NCBIO President Sam Taylor, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines, State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Eden, and clinical trial patient Laura Hull.

The report shows that nearly half of the Piedmont Triad region’s clinical trials have targeted the most debilitating chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, with 117 of the chronic disease medicine trials still active and recruiting patients throughout North Carolina.  For some patients, clinical trials can be an alternative therapy to discuss with their health care providers and clinicians conducting the trials. 

“Our research institutions are helping the most innovative biopharmaceutical companies develop new medicines for patients all over the world,” said Tomlinson.  “In Winston-Salem alone, Wake Forest Baptist and other organizations have conducted more than 1,500 clinical trials since 1999 for medicines that target cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, asthma, mental illnesses and other diseases and conditions.”

The economic benefits of collaborations with biopharmaceutical companies include the support of the companies for more than 226,000 jobs in North Carolina in 2011, with thousands in the Piedmont Triad Region, according to the most recent data.  The companies also supported the generation of $50.3 billion in statewide economic activity. 

"This report highlights the potential of North Carolina's bioscience industry to provide economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of our citizens," said Atala.

“Biopharmaceutical companies support researchers, production workers, engineers and administrative staffers who work directly for the companies, as well as thousands who work for vendors and suppliers, including construction, equipment and IT businesses,” said Taylor.

Many of the medications tested in the Piedmont Triad region over the last 15 years have been cutting-edge biotechnology treatments, including a trial of a genetically modified virus-based vaccine for melanoma conducted by Wake Forest School of Medicine.  The Wake Forest Eye Center conducted a trial of a recombinant fusion protein to treat diabetic macular edema. 

Other regional facilities conducting clinical research for biopharmaceutical companies include:

  • Moses H. Cone Regional Cancer Center, Greensboro.
  • Cornerstone Hematology/Oncology, High Point.
  • Alamance Regional Cancer Center, Burlington.
  • LeBauer Cardiovascular Research Foundation, Greensboro.
  • Forsyth Medical Center, Winston-Salem. 

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested approximately $550 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $48.5 billion in 2012 alone.

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