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Center for Integration of Science and Industry


Why the big questions about drug prices are rarely asked: It’s hard to do

Do pharmaceutical companies have a responsibility to provide medicines to those in need, or is their primary purpose as corporations to maximize value for shareholders? Does government have a responsibility to provide medicines to the public, or is its role to incentivize companies to make medicines available by linking increased profits to the provision of important products?

Why don’t these questions get asked, so they can be answered?  (Read more)

Institute for New Economic Thinking: US Tax Dollars Funded Every New Pharmaceutical in the Last Decade

The escalating controversies and divisive commentaries over drug pricing and the prioritization of products that benefit from federal funding also highlight deep divides between the precepts of the public and private sectors concerning the mission of the corporation as well as the role of government in value creation and markets. These conflicts also highlight the lack of coherent policies designed to maximize the public return on taxpayer investments and ensure that the public's needs are met.  (Read more)

Institute for New Economic Thinking: Big Pharma Wants to Pocket the Profits From a COVID Treatment You Already Paid For

Our data suggests that Gilead's considerable accomplishment in securing authorization for use of remdesivir in treating COVID-19 represents only the culminating step in a cumulative process of innovation that involved the collective action of public, as well as private, enterprise. While Gilead will likely invest several billion dollars in bringing remdesivir to market, our data suggests that the public sector, in aggregate, has already invested much more.  (Read more)

Institute for New Economic Thinking: Taxpayer Investment Leads New Drug Discoveries

This research is focused on examining the role of the public sector as an early investor in biopharmaceutical discovery and development. In the United States, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary source of funding for basic biomedical research designed to elucidate fundamental mechanisms of biology, health, and disease. This research is expected to establish the scientific foundation for the discovery and development of new biopharmaceutical products.  (Read more)

Institute for New Economic Thinking: The Fleming Myth and the Public Sector Contribution to Discovery and Development of New Cancer Drugs

Abstract: "basic science" research is essential to drug discovery. It is also largely funded by the public sector.
When people think about the process of drug discovery, they often recall the "Fleming myth." The myth recounts how a solitary English physician-scientist, "tired and shaken" by witnessing soldiers dying of wound infections during World War I, discovered penicillin when a plate of bacteria in his laboratory became contaminated with a Penicillium fungus that killed the bacteria. The story continues that Alexander Fleming then used his discovery to save young Winston Churchill's life.
The story, of course, is apocryphal, and so is this simplistic allegory of drug discovery.  (Read more)

Meeting the needs of the life science industry isn't just about teaching science

The workforce needs of the life science industry are not being met by initiatives that focus solely on promoting science education. Writing in the Boston Business Journal, Drs. Naomi Wernick, associate teaching professor in biology at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Dr. Fred Ledley, director of the Center for Integration of Science and Industry at Bentley University argues that such strategies need to focus on attracting and retaining students with interests that span both science and business.  (Read more)

30 Years is Too Long to Wait for New Medicines. There are Ways to Speed Up Drug Development

Have you heard the oft-repeated “fact” that it takes at least 10 years from initial discovery for a new drug to enter the marketplace? Take it with a grain of salt. The drug development journey is closer to 30 years.

I’ve experienced the lag time between discovery and commercial success as the co-founder of a biotech startup, and now I study it at the Center for Integration of Science and Industry at Bentley University.

In the early 1990s, I co-founded GeneMedicine Inc., one of the first gene therapy companies. It had a successful startup, raised hundreds of millions of dollars, pioneered new product and business opportunities, and completed an initial public offering, which gave our initial investors a substantial profit.  (Read more)

Why a 'Moonshot' to Cure Cancer Might Just Work

Expectations are building for major breakthroughs in cancer treatment. Philanthropists Sean Parker, Michael Bloomberg and Sidney Kimmell have collectively contributed half a billion dollars for new initiatives in immunotherapy, and President Obama has pledged a billion dollars for Vice President Joe Biden’s “moonshot” cancer initiative. Is this the time to be reaching for the moon in cancer therapy?  (Read more)

Making the Case for Science

Businesses demand science literacy from management students. Here's why. 

On March 14 in Washington, D.C., a group of business school educators and administrators gathered at the National Academy of Sciences to meet with leaders from the private and public sectors and have a conversation on an unlikely topic: climate change education for future business leaders.  (Read more)

Learning in unexpected places

I only remember two of the courses I took in college, and neither was in my major.
I went to college in the 1970s as a pre-medical student, and my college curriculum was dominated by courses that were pre-requisite for medical school. None of those courses matter now. By the time I began my professional career, everything I learned in those courses was obsolete, and the textbooks I used are now yellowed museum pieces in my library.  (Read more)

Why Innovation is Stuck in Slow Motion

Creating economic growth from the third industrial revolution

Business innovation has a problem. A recent working paper by Robert Gorden titled “Is US Economic Growth Over? Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds” suggests that “innovation does not have the same potential to create growth in the future as in the past.”

Want a good example? Consider the most talked-about advertisement “teaser” leading up to this year’s Super Bowl titled “Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion.” It is impossible to watch this advertisement without asking: “what’s new?”  (Read more)

Biotech: Not Just for Geeks

Business students get high marks for scientific literacy

In a down economy, biotechnology jobs are growing faster than the overall Massachusetts state economy. The numbers don’t lie, says a recent industry study:

  • More than 53,000 people in the Bay State are employed in the biopharmaceutical industry
  • More than 28,000 people in biotechnology collectively earn more than $6 billion per year

These are big numbers. They reflect the state’s leading role in an industry that comprises more than 70,000 establishments, employs more than 1.5 million people nationwide, and continues to grow, according to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.  (Read more)

Careers of the Future: Will You Be Able to Recognize the Next Big Thing?

In this final installment of our seven-week Careers of the Future Series, Fred Ledley, professor of Natural and Applied Sciences and Management as well as director of the Bentley Center for Integration of Science and Industry, explores what exactly it takes for millennial students to prepare for tomorrow's careers — including those can't even be imagined today. 

College graduates in 2014 will have more than a dozen different jobs during their lifetimes, many in industries and positions that haven’t even been created today.  (Read more)

Academia should heed industry’s scientific plea

Creative problem solving demands critical thinking and science literacy

Business school educators and administrators assembled at the National Academy of Sciences to meet leaders from the private and public sectors and discuss a somewhat unlikely topic: climate-change education for future business leaders.  (Read more)

An entrepreneur’s view on the effects of GDP revisions on R&D investment and the economy

Entrepreneurs should pay attention to recent changes in the way the U.S. calculates Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The revision, which shifts research and development (R&D) from an operating expense to a fixed investment, could stimulate greater R&D spending and promote much-needed technological innovation.

Calculating the GDP has become more complex as the U.S. shifts from a manufacturing economy to a knowledge economy more dependent on the often-abstract products of innovation. The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) definition of GDP — “the market value of final goods and services produced by labor and property within the United States during a given period” — can be problematic for entrepreneurship. This is particularly true for enterprises focused on translating emerging scientific discoveries into new products and businesses.  (Read more)