America’s biopharmaceutical researchers are working tirelessly to develop new and innovative medicines for patients. For those diseases that have no treatment options, the opportunity to improve patients’ lives provides daily inspiration to researchers.
In a new video, George Scangos, Ph.D., chief executive officer at Biogen, says it was early in his career when he was researching treatments for children with cystic fibrosis that he fully understood the magnitude of his work.
“That brought home to me how rewarding it could be to do science – not just science for science’s sake, but to actually bring some real benefits to people in the real world who desperately needed help,” Scangos says. “Those patients are fortunate in that they have treatments that are working for them. But there are a lot of patients out there who aren’t so fortunate.”
For people living with those diseases, America’s biopharmaceutical companies are hard at work each and every day to discover new medicines.
Biogen, like several other biopharmaceutical research companies, is particularly focused on neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s, a disease where the burdens to patients, their loved ones and health systems are expected to increase enormously if new treatments aren’t discovered.
Today, more than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, costing the health care system an estimated $236 billion a year to treat. These sobering statistics are projected to increase as the number of people living with the disease is projected to grow to nearly 14 million and the cost to more than $1 trillion by 2050 if no new medicines to prevent, delay or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s are discovered.
Fortunately, today there are more than 70 medicines in development for Alzheimer’s. Although the process has proven to be difficult, with many unsuccessful trials over the years, these setbacks are a critical part of the discovery process.
For Scangos and others working toward new treatments, the ability to see the benefits to patients when medicines are discovered is what keeps them going and continuing to work to improve patients’ health outcomes.
To learn more about the men and women dedicated to bringing new treatments and cures to patients, go to: www.fromhopetocures.org/advancing-science/people-behind-the-science.
Andrew Powaleny is Senior Director of Public Affairs at PhRMA and leads the organizations scientific communications. Before joining PhRMA in 2015, he worked in public affairs for a small firm in Washington, DC and served as Deputy Press Secretary for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Andrew came to Washington, D.C. via Connecticut with a degree from Eastern Connecticut State University where he majored in public policy and government. Andrew is active as a runner and volunteer with the DC Front Runners; most recently serving on its Board of Directors for three years as co-race director. He is also a member of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and mentors students through his alumni association with The Fund for American Studies. Andrew is passionate about scientific innovation, especially for mental illness, and his heroes are the men and women of America’s biopharmaceutical research companies.