Biotech execs share concerns

Public support, market pressure, and potential competition with Big Pharma top list at BIO

Susan Warner(swarner@comcast.net)
Jun 8, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO—Biotechnology company leaders expressed concern at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) annual meeting here about public support for biotech, pressure from investors for short-term results, and the possibility of increased competition with large pharmaceutical companies.

The industry needs to become more open and willing to educate people about biotech, according to top executives at four major firms who spoke Tuesday (June 8). "We're doing a terrible job of communication," said Howard Pien, chief executive of Chiron.

Pien identified several challenges to biotechnology innovation, including the possibility of generic biologics, parallel trade, and restrictions on stem cell research. "We have to recognize there are a variety of threats in the public environment," he said.

"We tend to be too scientific and clinical," said James C. Mullen, chief executive of Biogen Idec, who urged biotechnology executives to raise their presence in the public debate about biotech. "It's...

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