Research and development involves collaboration, investments and risk to ensure new treatments benefit patients, according to panelists at a Capitol Hill briefing on February 14 hosted by Research!America and the Congressional R&D Caucus. The briefing “Medical Innovation 101” highlighted various aspects of the research continuum from basic to post-market research.

Eleanor Perfetto, Ph.D., MS, of the National Health Council moderated the discussion, which included panelists representing different areas of the medical research continuum: basic science, clinical and translational research, health services research and health economics and the patient community.

Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy at University of California San Francisco and Research!America board member, emphasized that federal funding and collaboration between federal agencies is an essential part of the healthcare research continuum. Precision medicine, he added, will lead to “changes in the way that prevention and diagnosis of disease and therapy decisions can be drilled down to individuals.”

Medical innovation requires patience and resources. “Developing medicines is a risky proposition,” said Brian Gill, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Celgene. “Over $2.6 billion dollars on average [is invested] to deliver a medicine to the marketplace. It takes on average 12 years.”

Joe Selby, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) said, “Drugs are often tested and developed in high-risk patients, but then the question is are they as good for low-risk patients.” Once a drug hits the market, institutes like PCORI evaluate how medicines work in real populations and also look at adherence and access to medications, he added.

John Schnieder, Ph.D., CEO at Avalon Health Economics LLC noted that increasing drug utilization offsets health care costs and brings clinical and economic value.

Patients must also have a voice in research and drug development, said Perfetto, adding that clinical trials must be designed to make it easier for individuals to participate. 

To view photos from the event click here