Project BioShield: Consistent financing, markets, indemnity for biodefense vaccine developers needed

aping of Project BioShield that would affect its ability to attract biotechnology companies to participate.

Need for a Long-term, Sizeable Government Commitment

Dr. Ryan said that her primary concern revolved around whether the BioShield initiative and corresponding efforts at the DoD represent a long-term government commitment of sufficient size to make the venture worthwhile for companies. She noted that the market created by BioShield must be large enough to convince biotechnology companies that they have a partner who understands the high cost, complexity, and significant risk of developing therapeutics and bringing them to market. "Biotechnology companies need to see a federal program of sufficient size to convince them that their efforts can be funded through to product commercialization and that the risk that they ensure and the success they achieve will be fairly compensated," she said.

She further voiced the need for a long-term commitment of such funding, to ensure adequate resources over the many years it can take to develop biomedical countermeasures against difficult disease agents. "I believe the government understands that meeting the biological weapons threat is of similar importance to the nuclear threat in many respects. The Strategic Defense Initiative, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last month, launched a missile defense program whose funding has not dropped below $3 billion dollars annually over two decades. That kind of long-range commitment will convince companies that the government is a serious partner in this undertaking," Dr. Ryan said. She commented that while work on vaccines against anthrax and plague was proceeding rapidly, other less well understood agents, such as viral pathogens and hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola, could pose significantly more difficult problems for vaccine developers, making long-term research and development funding crucial.

Consistent, Coordinated and Transpar

Contact: Joan Kureczka
Kureczka/Martin Associates

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