For many of America’s biopharmaceutical researchers and scientists, seeing the positive effects of their work on the lives of patients is what encourages them to keep striving.
Dr. Al Sandrock, chief medical officer at Biogen, recently shared his experiences working in the biopharmaceutical industry and how first-hand accounts from patients motivate him every day.
“We want medicines that provide a clinically meaningful benefit, so there’s nothing like talking to the patients and understanding from them what is important,” Dr. Sandrock says. “Thinking about the patient, and asking ourselves, ‘what’s the right thing to do for patients?’ always brings us to the right answer.”
Dr. Sandrock highlights the incredible progress that has been made to bring new therapies to patients impacted by neurological illnesses that previously had no treatments or where available medicines could be improved upon. As a neuroscientist, Dr. Sandrock has been particularly encouraged by the progress made in development of treatments for diseases like multiple sclerosis.
In recent years, scientists have learned more about how the nervous system works at the molecular and genetic levels, helping to develop more effective treatments for neurological disorders. However, many disorders still do not have an approved treatment or are in need of newer, more effective treatments.
Biopharmaceutical research companies are in the process of developing 420 medicines to prevent and treat a number of neurological disorders. The medicines in development are either in human clinical trials or under review at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Critical to the development of new and innovative medicines is hearing from patients directly. By incorporating patient input using a scientific approach and focusing more on patients’ needs, biopharmaceutical researchers are identifying ways to improve the efficiency of drug discovery and development and provide more meaningful treatments and information for patients and medical professionals.
Andrew Powaleny is Senior Director of Public Affairs at PhRMA and leads the organization's 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.