Oct132011

California Biopharmaceutical Companies Are Developing Over Two-Fifths of Breakthrough Biotechnology Medicines

Posted by Kassy Perry

WASHINGTON — (BUSINESS WIRE) — More than 400 of the record 901 biotechnology medicines in development today are being created by biopharmaceutical companies with major operations in California, a new report shows.

Companies with headquarters there account for 201 of the new-generation drugs.

The report, compiled by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), finds that California’s biopharmaceutical companies have embraced a variety of new techniques as they develop 92 biotechnology-derived vaccines to both prevent and treat disease, 193 monoclonal antibody treatments, 33 recombinant proteins and other medicines made from cells and genes.

These medications and vaccines are being developed to treat, manage or prevent heart disease, different types of cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, digestive disorders such as colitis, eye conditions, growth disorders and such autoimmune disorders as systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

California statistics alone underscore the importance of having effective new treatments for these conditions. Heart disease was the state’s leading cause of death every year from 2000 through 2008, accounting for more than a quarter of all state deaths during that period. As for cancer, officials estimate that in 2011 alone, more than 140,000 Californians will be diagnosed with different types of the disease.

That’s more than 16 new cases of cancer every hour of every day. Meanwhile, an estimated 54,690 state residents will die of cancer this year, which works out to nearly 150 people a day.

From 2000 to 2009, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes rose from 6.8 percent to 9.1 percent of the state’s adults for an increase of more than a third in less than a decade.

“Through biotechnology, we are developing new ways to not only effectively treat these diseases, but also to predict, preempt and prevent them,” said PhRMA Senior Vice President Jeffrey Bond. “California is dominant among the handful of states where most of the pioneering research and development work is being done.”

Among the many novel uses of emerging biotechnologies, the state’s biopharmaceutical research companies are exploring new approaches to immunization as researchers seek to develop more effective, safer and easier-to-produce vaccines. “Some new-generation vaccines are being developed to actually treat disease, including those designed to treat cancer by delaying or stopping cancer cell growth or shrinking tumors so the disease does not reoccur,” said Bond.

Companies in the Golden State are also developing monoclonal antibody treatments – laboratory-developed versions of naturally occurring immune system proteins that bind to and neutralize harmful substances – as well as recombinant proteins produced through genetic engineering in living cells. These revolutionary medicines hold promise for a wide range of therapeutic outcomes, including destruction of cancer cells, stimulation of body growth, stimulation of red blood cell production in bone marrow and treatment of Type 1 diabetes.

The companies with operations and headquarters in California are a mix of larger and smaller firms largely clustered in and around San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

According to data prepared by IMS Health for the California Biomedical Industry Report 2011, in mid-2010 biopharmaceutical companies in the state were developing 12 percent of the global development pipeline of nearly 7,000 medicines and vaccines.

Beyond its decisive contribution to patient health care, the state’s biopharmaceutical industry has also had a significant impact on the state’s economy. A recent report by Archstone Consulting shows that California’s companies that research and develop new medicines supported nearly a half million state jobs – including more than 121,000 direct jobs – and paid $376.9 million in state taxes in 2008.

“With unemployment in the state exceeding 12 percent, these high-value jobs are an invaluable economic asset,” said Bond. “State and federal officials, including lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., should do all they can to preserve and nurture this resource.”

Contacts
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Jeff Trewhitt, 202-835-3460


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