Message from the Managing Director

Vinit Nijhawan October 2013

United States has been a leader in research and development funding since the end of WWII. Only Japan has outspent the U.S. as a percentage of GDP, with Japanese industry outspending all other countries. The U.S. government has outspent other countries in R&D spending (see figure below). Next to the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has garnered the lion share of that spending. As a result U.S. BioPharma is a world leader in patents filed and new products brought to the market. Massachusetts has been a disproportionate recipient of NIH funding with the leading Biotech Cluster in the world.

The federal government sequestration is impacting basic research funding at all research universities including Boston University.  Industry sponsored research has the potential to support faculty research and to enhance product pipeline for companies. Global industry R&D expenditure have held steady at approximately 1.25% of sales (see figure below).

Of the top 20 innovator companies (by R&D spending) globally in 2011, 8 were pharmaceutical companies who typically spend on average 15% of sales. In spite of this R&D spending pharma lacks a robust pipeline of new drugs or related products. In fact the industry has been and continues to face patent cliffs as blockbuster drugs such as Lipitor and Enbrel lose their monopoly. Additionally the role of early stage biotech VCs has diminished with the cooled IPO market. Pharma is increasingly stepping up with in-house venture capital and increasing support of university research.

BU has recently been significantly supported by Pfizer CTI, Johnson and Johnson and Takeda who have sponsored research funding for novel therapeutics and diagnostics.  BU is a great university to partner with and we are working to streamline our industry sponsored research process to “minimize friction” and make it even easier for industry to collaborate with us.

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