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Biotechnology and Pharma: Evolution and Adaptation

Biotechnology and Pharma
Reported by
Jamie Kass

Posted November 04, 2008

Presented By


The challenges drug developers face in keeping costs down while generating successful new drugs was the topic of an October 7, 2008, panel discussion at the Academy. Representatives from biotech, the pharmaceutical industry, the consulting industry, the FDA, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), met to discuss the current landscape of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, and what might lie ahead.

Topics discussed include the challenges of developing safe drugs for chronic diseases, the difficulty of moving from molecular observation to clinical success, and the high cost of clinical trials. Panelists also suggested that high drug prices may prompt the U.S. government to get more involved in pharmaceutical industry affairs.


Andrew Marshall

PhD (moderator)
Nature Publishing Group
e-mail | web site

Andrew Marshall is the editor of Nature Biotechnology. From 1992–1996 he was editor of Current Opinion in Biotechnology. Marshall has written numerous articles and editorials on science and technology for the popular media, including The Economist, and for trade publications. As well as frequently speaking on biotechnology issues at international meetings, he regularly organizes conferences and symposia for Nature Publishing Group in the biotechnology area. Marshall obtained his PhD and postdoctoral experience in molecular biology and microbiology at King's College London.

Robert A. Copeland, PhD

e-mail | web site

Robert Copeland is the executive vice president and chief scientific officer at EpiZyme, Inc. Copeland recently was vice president of biology at GlaxoSmithKline's Oncology Center of Excellence in Drug Discovery. He is also adjunct professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Before joining GlaxoSmithKline he held scientific staff positions at Merck Research Laboratories and Bristol-Myers Squibb, and a faculty position at the University of Chicago. Copeland received a PhD in physical chemistry from Princeton University.

Ralph Marcello

Deloitte Consulting LLP
e-mail | web site

Ralph Marcello is senior manager at Deloitte Consulting LLP, and an author of The Changing Face of R&D in the Future Pharmaceutical Landscape. Marcello attended Cornell University's S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Barbara B. Mittleman, MD

National Institutes of Health
e-mail | web site

Barbara Mittleman is director of the NIH's Public-Private Partnership Program (PPP) and the director of the Biomarkers Consortium. The PPP Program facilitates NIH partnerships to leverage NIH expertise and resources in a synergistic fashion with any of a range of outside entities. It serves as a neutral broker, brings parties together, fosters open access to data, and coordinates activities.

Alan E. Smith, PhD
web site

Alan Smith is senior vice president of research and chief scientific officer at Genzyme. Before Integrated Genetics was acquired by Genzyme in 1989, Smith was that company's vice president and scientific director. Prior to joining Integrated Genetics, he was head of the Biochemistry Division of the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, in London. Smith has also served as a member of the scientific staff at London's Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Smith has a PhD from the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England.

Peter L. Vaccari, RPh, RAC

FDA Office of Orphan Products Development
e-mail | web site

Peter Vaccari is a staff member at the FDA's Office of Orphan Products Development.The Orphan Products Program is involved in the identification of orphan products and the facilitation of their development.

Cole Werble

Windhover Information, Inc.
e-mail | web site

Cole Werble is editor-in-chief of The RPM Report. Prior to joining Windhover in 2005, Werble was an independent consultant to the pharmaceutical and health products industries. For 26 years, Werble was owner and editorial director of FDC Reports, Inc., the publisher of "The Pink Sheet," "The Gray Sheet," and other leading news publications for the pharmaceutical industry. Werble is a 1973 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Williams College and holds an MA (1974) from the University of Chicago.

Jamie Kass

Jamie Kass is a web editor at the Academy. She holds a PhD in genetics.