Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Sizzling Month for Biotech; More on Patent Protection for Biotech

Good news is surfacing in the biotech industry. One industry watcher on Monday reported that the sector was “hot” during July, but warned that challenges remain including the fate of patent protection for biotech drugs – a matter also of concern to the California stem cell agency.

Burrill & Co., the San Francisco life sciences merchant bank, said the sector was propelled by “drug data, positive drug sales/earnings and partnering and M&A deals.”

But Steven Burrill, CEO of the company bearing his name, also said,
“We don’t yet believe biotech is fully back on track as many companies are still struggling to find the necessary funding to maintain their operations, almost half of US public biotechs have market caps below $100 million and we are seeing companies still consistently turning off their lights for the last time. It is important to remind ourselves that the biotech industry is undergoing a major transition, a process that will likely continue for many months yet.

“This is because we do not know how President Barack Obama’s proposal for health care reform will fully impact the biotechnology industry and the status of biosimiliar legislation (follow-on biologics) is also still unresolved and there are fears that these issues will drive the prices of innovative drugs lower and eat away at biotech company profits.”
CIRM, a taxpayer-funded organization, is lobbying Congress on the biosimilar patent protection legislation. Last month it sent a letter to to U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-California, backing lengthy, 12 to 14 year patent protection periods, also an industry-supported position.

Without that protection, CIRM said “patient access to this promising technology will de delayed or eliminated and California's biotechnology sector will suffer.” Feinstein sent the letter along to the key Democratic negotiators on the health care reform legislation, urging support of the CIRM position. You can a find copy of both letters here. Sphere: Related Content


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