Press Release

Buffalo Companies Play Key Role Developing New Medicines

PhRMA September 17, 2009

Buffalo, NY (September 17, 2009) — Twenty-eight innovative medicines are being developed by biopharmaceutical research companies with facilities in Buffalo, according to a new report released today at the Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute. The medicines are awaiting approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or are in human clinical trials.

New York Mets and Yankees legend Darryl Strawberry, a two-time colon cancer survivor, described his battle against this potentially devastating disease at the release of Medicines in Development Buffalo 2009, issued by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

“I know first-hand the hope that new medicines provide,” said Strawberry. “They gave me a second chance at life.”

New York State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (140th Assembly District) joined today’s press conference to discuss Buffalo’s role in developing new life-saving medicines.

“The public-private synergy occurring here on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and elsewhere around Western New York is bringing welcome progress on a number of fronts,” said Schimminger, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry. “Pharmaceutical research is, of course, vital for its health benefits, making it possible for so many with cancer, diabetes and other serious diseases to look forward to long and active lives. It is also critically important to the health of our region’s economy, where it is providing good jobs right now and the hope of many more to come.”

“The medicines now in the research pipelines of these Buffalo companies are contributing significantly to the incredible progress made by America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies in developing new and more effective treatments for a wide range of diseases,” said PhRMA Senior Vice President Ken Johnson, who provided an overview of the report. “If we are going to cure cancer in our lifetime, as President Obama has challenged us to do, it will take a sustained national effort, with scientists from New York to California taking part in this critically important effort.”

The report includes cutting-edge medicines and vaccines for heart disease, cancer and diabetes – three of the leading chronic diseases both in New York State and nationwide – as well as potential medicines for pneumonia, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, Huntington’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia, and more.

One potential medicine in the report could be the first to effectively treat symptoms of Huntington’s disease, an inherited, degenerative condition that destroys brain cells and is ultimately fatal. This groundbreaking drug could vastly improve quality of life for patients living with this terrible disease.

Another cutting-edge medicine is designed to attack the cause of Alzheimer’s disease rather than merely treating its symptoms. This novel therapeutic holds the potential to slow down the progression of the disease. Five million Americans now suffer from Alzheimer’s – and treatment options have been limited.

Nathan Tinker, executive director of the New York Biotechnology Association (NYBA), noted that Buffalo is one of many major biopharmaceutical research hubs in a state that is at the epicenter of the fight against disease. “We have innovative companies providing diverse and high-quality research to the biopharmaceutical community,” said Tinker. “The greater Buffalo area has biopharmaceutical companies, universities, research hospitals and laboratories. Together, these companies and research institutions are on the front line of innovation – they’re helping to develop new medicines that both prevent and fight today’s debilitating chronic diseases.”

“We’re pleased to see the effort, innovation and continued development of new drugs to treat cancer. It is especially exciting to know that some of that innovation is taking place right here in Buffalo. It’s great to see others sharing in our passion to treat those suffering from debilitating and life-threatening illness,” said Karen Hall, Community Mission Manager, American Cancer Society.

“Scientists at America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies are making exciting progress in the search for new cures and treatments for cancer and other diseases. But these efforts are wasted if the medicines we develop aren’t accessible to patients who need them,” said PhRMA’s Johnson.

Help is available to patients in need through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), a program sponsored by America’s pharmaceutical research companies. To date, the PPA has helped nearly six million patients nationwide, including more than 190,000 people in New York State. Since its launch in April 2005, the PPA bus tour has visited all 50 states and more than 2,500 cities to educate people about patient assistance programs.

The “Help is Here Express” is staffed by trained specialists able to quickly help uninsured and financially struggling patients access information on more than 475 patient assistance programs, including nearly 200 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. When the “Help is Here Express” moves on, patients can visit PPA’s easy-to-use Web site ( or call the toll-free phone number (1-888-4PPA-NOW).

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.

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