BIO CEO & Investor Conference: Feeding the need for new obesity treatments

With obesity becoming a worldwide epidemic, there’s no need to question why new treatment options are important. In fact, according to recent reports, obesity-related health and economic costs are estimated at $100 billion per year.

Unfortunately, the options currently available to treat obesity only produce modest weight loss. But what about the conditions often associated with obesity, like diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis and sleep apnea? The majority of treatments currently available don’t account for improving these conditions and often don’t account for the dangerous side effects of quickly loosing an excessive amount of weight.

Fortunately, according to leading companies and clinicians, there are several obesity products in development that could significantly improve both the weight and lives of obese patients. These new treatments aim to provide patients with a safe and effective treatment that will help them loose weight, improve their behavior, and ultimately, help reduce mortality rates.

In today’s challenging regulatory environment for FDA approval, the FDA will look closely at the safety, efficacy and method of action for each treatment. Companies say approval may come in early 2011—positive news for the greatest medical problem facing the nation and the world.

BIO CEO & Investor Conference: more than 5 million patients suffering

There are more than 5 million patients suffering from gout. Unfortunately, most gout patients steer clear of medications unless experiencing a flare-up.

With the gout population getting older, fatter and more complex, and with no new treatments approved for the last 50 years, is there hope for gout sufferers?

Actually, there is. There are two new drugs awaiting FDA approval in 2009 that may offer long-term gout management and provide physicians with the ammo needed to improve patient education. While the drugs prove to be efficacious, questions regarding safety remain. And, with today’s challenging environment for FDA approval, the Agency will not trend lightly when it comes to safety. In fact, they’ll seek advice from and advisory committee panel and factor the drug’s efficacy, safety, tolerability, compliance and physiology.

If approved, these new treatments may help change this therapeutic landscape and hopefully offer an improved lifestyle for those suffering from gout.

Genetically Engineered Animals and Public Health

Today is a very special day for those of us that work in the field of animal biotechnology.  Today, the FDA announced the long-awaited draft guidance describing a regulatory framework for governing genetically engineered (GE) animals. In addition, USDA is seeking comment on their coordinated role in the regulatory process.

Some of you will remember that back in June, we released at the BIO International Convention, the report Genetically Engineered Animals and Public Health – Compelling Benefits for Health Care, Nutrition, the Environment and Animal Welfare.  At that time, I also discussed the importance of this technology and its role in public health on BIOtech Now, BIO’s podcast series.  Today’s government action is truly a landmark one because it provides U.S. government draft guidance, that initiates a public comment process.   The end result of which will be the development of a final regulatory system for these products which will ensure their safety and efficacy for the American consumer.

This technology holds great promise.  Through genetic engineering, animals can produce pharmaceutical proteins and replacement tissues in their milk, eggs, and blood, which can be used in the treatment of human diseases such as cancer, heart attacks, hemophilia, rheumatoid arthritis, pandemic flu, malaria and small pox. In addition, research is being conducted to produce transplant organs in pigs that may be a source of organs for humans.

Genetically engineered animals also can improve food quality and production with improved nutrient and efficiency traits, and contribute to more environmentally-friendly livestock production as animals utilize less resources and release less emissions into the environment.  The animals themselves also benefit from  these technologies  with disease resistance traits and improved animal welfare.

So I hope you will join me, as we take this great step forward.  One tiny step for biotechnology, one great step for mankind.  And, if you have any questions about genetic engineering, drop them here as a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Barbara Glenn
Managing Director for Animal Biotechnology
BIO

p.s. Stop in and check out our genetic engineering resource center.