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Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Discusses Drug Innovation

May 23, 2014—The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health May 20 held the first hearing as part of the 21st Century Cures initiative announced April 30 by full Committee Chair Fred Upton (D-Mich.) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) [see Washington Highlights, May 2].

The subcommittee heard from a panel of experts involved in the development of the 2012 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) “Report to the President on Propelling Innovation in Drug Discovery, Development, and Evaluation.”

Health Subcommittee Chair Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) noted in his opening statement that the PCAST report “hits on a number of topics that we will have to explore if we are to truly advance cures... [including] making sure incentives are in place to ensure capital is flowing toward research and development of new cures and designing clinical trials to the appropriate size and scale given the growth of targeted, personalized medicine.”

In his opening statement, Chairman Upton said, “In their report, the president’s advisors found that the nation’s biomedical innovation ecosystem is under significant stress, citing the patent cliff facing the pharmaceutical industry, declining investment from venture capital and decreasing research and development in critical areas, including Alzheimer’s. We have heard similar concerns in our discussions with patients, innovators, and thought leaders.”

Witnesses included: Garry A. Neil, M.D., global head of research and development, Medgenics, Inc.; Sara Radcliffe, executive vice president of health section, Biotechnology Industry Organization; Frank J. Sasinowski, director, Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, PC; Jeff Allen, executive director, Friends of Cancer Research; and, Sean Tunis, M.D., founder and chief executive officer, Center for Medical Technology Policy.

Some of the ideas discussed include creating clinical trial networks and centralized institutional review boards (IRBs), implementing risk-based monitoring of clinical trials, investing in new biomarkers and surrogate trial endpoints, expanding public-private partnerships, and examining incentives for capital investment.


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559


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