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What’s the Link Between Public Funding and Scientific Breakthroughs? Bentley Hosts Event with Congresswoman Katherine Clark and Biotech Executives

Representative Katherine Clark with biotech industry leaders.

What’s the Link Between Public Funding and Scientific Breakthroughs? Bentley Hosts Event with Congresswoman Katherine Clark and Biotech Executives

How many new medicines rely on government funding? The short answer: all of them.

Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark and biotechnology industry leaders recently visited Bentley for a conversation about the essential role of government in funding basic biomedical science and how companies use this science to create new medicines, jobs and successful companies.

Bentley students, faculty and staff filled a classroom next to a science lab in Jennison Hall, Bentley’s newly renovated, state-of-the-art academic building. The lively discussion, which featured questions from students in the audience, ranged from topics including the challenges of bringing new medicines to market to the rising cost of prescription drugs.

The event stemmed from new research by Bentley University’s Center for Integration of Science and Industry published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which showed that the National Institutes of Health invested more than $100 billion in research that led to new medicines in the last decade. Significantly, NIH funding contributed to the basic science leading to each and every one of the 210 new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration from 2010–2016. 

“NIH supported research has led to discoveries and innovations that have changed the course of history," said Congresswoman Clark. "Beyond scientific advancements and improvements to health, this research is an incredible financial engine, contributing over 32,000 jobs and $6.4 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy in 2017 alone.”  

Other panelists included Ekaterina Cleary, Bentley research associate and lead author of the study; Deborah Dunsire, CEO of Xtuit Pharmaceuticals; Chris Garabedian, CEO of Xontogeny; Mark Namchuk, senior vice president of Research, Pharmaceutical and Non-clinical Development at Alkermes; and Lance Colwell '92, vice president of the U.S. Rare Disease Group at Biogen.

“As a member of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, Congresswoman Clark is uniquely positioned to share expert insights as part of this timely dialogue,” said Fred Ledley, professor and director of the Center for Integration of Science and Industry at Bentley. “Her perspective, along with those of executives working in the industry, was invaluable for our students to experience firsthand.”

The new study is an example of the research with national impact being conducted by Bentley University faculty.  

About Bentley University
Bentley University is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader with the technical skills, global perspective and ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Bentley’s diverse arts and sciences program combined with an advanced business curriculum prepares graduates to make an impact in their chosen fields. The university enrolls approximately 4,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students. For more information, visit


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