A Mixed Outlook for the Life Sciences Industry

Interphex2007, New York, NY (Apr. 25)-The future of the life science industry lies in biotechnology, and the industry is set to see more heated debates on healthcare and drug safety, according to G. Steven Burrill, chief executive officer of Burrill & Company, who presented today?s keynote address, "The Future of the Life Science Industry."

Interphex2007, New York, NY (Apr. 25)-The future of the life science industry lies in biotechnology, and the industry is set to see more heated debates on healthcare and drug safety, according to G. Steven Burrill, chief executive officer of Burrill & Company (San Francisco, CA, www.burrillandco.com), who presented today’s keynote address, “The Future of the Life Science Industry.”

Burrill described ways biotechnology is evolving and changing the pharmaceutical industry. There is an increasing movement from chemistry to biochemistry, personalized medicines are gaining in popularity, and there is more focus on preventing sickness rather than only treating it. “We’ve left the world of one-size-fits-all drugs,” he said.

In addition, companies in the biotechnology industry, which used to be primarily based in the United States, are becoming more global. As more companies globalize and biomedical research becomes a more global effort, he also noted the need for international collaboration. 

Also, the use of electronic communication is changing the industry. Patients are becoming more informed, as widespread Internet use allows consumers to compare drug prices and learn more about their health on Web sites. Interest in personal wellness in general is becoming more widespread.

At the same time, industry activity will be influenced by funding levels from key government agencies. Burrill noted that funding for the National Institutes of Health (Washington, DC, www.nih.gov) is increasing, but funding for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA, Rockville, MD, www.fda.gov) is lagging.

Burrill predicts that drugs will become safer and more effective as regulatory agencies step up their efforts, that more products will enter the market, and that product sales will rise. However, he also believes that healthcare costs will rise, and he warned pharmaceutical companies that they face an uphill battle ahead with growing consumer concerns over higher drug costs.