Shire is a global biopharmaceutical company committed to helping people with life-altering conditions lead better lives. Shire employs more than 5,000 people in nearly 40 countries around the world who carry forward many of the original attributes of its founders -- opportunistic thinking, transparent behavior, a deep commitment to doing what is right and a prevailing concern for the patients and caregivers served by its well-differentiated product lines. The company focuses on developing and delivering innovative medicines and therapies for patients with rare diseases and other specialty conditions, ranging from Hunter syndrome or Fabry disease, to ADHD or ulcerative colitis.
“At Shire, the patient is at the center of everything we do. We are committed to enabling people with life-altering conditions to lead better lives, and feel a responsibility to sustain and develop the kinds of programs that benefit our patients most,” said Phil Vickers, Ph.D., senior vice president and head of research and development at Shire.
Shire focuses on addressing the unique R&D challenges associated with the development of innovative medicines to treat rare diseases and specialty conditions, and provides benefit to patients and their families. Such therapies can provide very significant health economic benefits to society-- including fewer days spent in hospitals, and decreases in the time that family members need to leave the workplace.
The company has created a patient- and customer-focused culture, which encourages employees to embrace innovation and challenge the status quo. “We are excited about the future and are committed to working with our partners in industry, academia and the non-profit sector to promote research and innovation across the U.S. and the globe,” said Dr. Vickers.
Dr. Vickers sees some challenges to the biomedical research landscape, most importantly a lack of consistent funding and the need for more public-private partnerships. “Support for maintaining and reestablishing strong funding levels at the NIH and across academia is vital,” he emphasized. “Recent scientific advances could form the foundation for incredible advances in the understanding of diseases, and through partnership with biopharma there is a great opportunity to translate basic science into the development of innovative therapies.”
Funding is not the only ingredient necessary, explained Dr. Vickers. Strong intellectual property rights, support for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, and government policies, and a tax code that recognizes the incredible value that research and innovation impart to the economy as a whole, are a few of the important issues that Dr. Vickers says can have a significant impact on the level of investment in biopharmaceutical development.
“In working to increase awareness of the benefits of research and innovation, Research!America directly supports our mission to develop innovative therapies to treat rare and specialty conditions,” he said. “It is critical that our elected leaders at the state and national levels understand the importance and value of R&D, both from a patient and economic perspective. Research!America has an important and trusted voice that helps move these conversations forward.”