"[Bioscience] is not just an investment in an economic sense and healthcare, but it is an investment in human lives" stated Margaret Anderson, Executive Director of FasterCures at a Milken Institute and FasterCures sponsored Hill brief On Renewing America's Commitment to Bioscience. The briefing celebrated how far bioscience has progressed and set the stage for its future. In the face of budgetary cuts and decreased investments in research and development, National Institutes of Health Director, Francis Collins, summarized the current state of bioscience best:
"...I have never been more excited than I am right now about the scientific opportunities that lie in front of us to uncover the causes of illness and to develop methods to cure disease, but I can also tell you I have never been more anxious about the resources that are needed to support this enterprise and whether they will be available in the future."
Since the 1900's, bioscience has allowed for an unprecedented increase in life expectancy. To see the impact of bioscience, just compare the Human Genome Project then and now. In 1990, sequencing took over 13 years and cost $2.7 billion. Today, the human genome can be sequenced in 2 hours for $1000 dollars. These advances in bioscience have all been possible due to the research done by industry and institutions like NIH.
As Collins pointed out, we have to keep this engine moving.
But how do we do that? We can't forget that behind all these advancements in bioscience are the investments and partnerships that fund them. Two examples of these investments are:
- PDUFA, the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, which allows for the consistent application of better science and a larger review staff at the FDA. In 2011, 30 new molecular entities were approved, 12 of which were totally novel compounds and 11 of which were orphan drugs.
- National Institutes of Health National Center for Translational Science (NCATS) partnership with industry improves the drug pipeline process by crowdsourcing industry developed molecules and data to find new applications for tabled compounds.
These kinds of opportunities are not to be missed. Investment and collaboration guarantee continued biomedical innovation and can offer the key to treat and cure global epidemics, like chronic diseases.