The Sun Opinion: Innovation Act Threatens Massachusetts Innovators, by Kevin O’Sullivan
This post originally appeared in The Sun on July 16, 2015.
Massachusetts scientists recently made a remarkable breakthrough in Alzheimer’s treatment. In March, Cambridge-based Biogen announced its experimental medicine had “significantly slowed” the progress of the disease during an initial round of clinical trials.
The drug promises to treat the root cause of Alzheimer’s, a fatal memory disease that afflicts more than 5 million Americans.
But if Congress hamstrings such drug research by weakening intellectual property rights, patients can forget about further medical breakthroughs. Bay State representatives should vote against any measure that threatens Massachusetts’ medical research and the workers and patients who depend on it.
Massachusetts is a bastion of high-tech drug development. Several major biopharmaceutical firms call the state home, including AbbVie Bioresearch in Worcester, Genzyme in Cambridge, Bristol Myers Squibb in Devens, and Merck Research Laboratories in Boston. These firms are constantly testing new drugs and since 1999, Massachusetts has hosted 4,700 clinical trials. Roughly 1,600 of those are ongoing.
This medical research yields new treatments for patients. It also keeps Massachusetts’ economy healthy. In 2013, clinical trials generated nearly $910 million in statewide economic activity.
Medical research is also an important source of jobs. Nearly 180,000 Massachusetts residents work in the biopharmaceutical industry.
Unfortunately, Congress is considering a new law that would undermine such research and endanger the jobs it supports.