Half Of People Believe Cancer Is The Disease Science Has The Most Potential To Cure, Says Survey

Posted on January, 13 - 2020

Research, marking the launch of BioPharma Ambition 2020, shows:

  • Three-quarters of people would take part in a clinical trial if they were ill
  • Fighting disease, generating jobs and improving Ireland’s reputation are the top reasons for investing in medicines innovation
  • Investing in new medicines is important, along with funding more doctors, nurses and hospitals

Almost half of people believe cancer is the illness science has the greatest potential to cure, according to a survey carried out to launch BioPharma Ambition, an industry-led event that will be held in Dublin in March to showcase the future for medicines innovation.

In the survey, which sampled 1,000 adults across Ireland, heart disease was cited as the second most likely disease that could be cured by science, followed by dementia and cystic fibrosis.

The survey found that three out of four people would take part in a clinical trial if they were ill. Clinical trials, which are used to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a medicine, give patients access to sometimes life-saving care. In Ireland, 126 clinical studies are under way, compared with 322 for Denmark and 687 for Belgium, according to clinicaltrials.gov, a database of over 300,000 clinical studies conducted in more than 200 countries around the world. The database is provided by the US National Library of Medicines.

Almost everyone surveyed agreed Ireland should contribute to the development of the global medicines pipeline, with eight out of 10 respondents saying it would help in the fight against disease. Almost half of respondents cited jobs as the primary goal of investment in medicines innovation. That was followed by enhancing Ireland’s reputation as an innovation leader and improving workforce knowledge.

The biopharmaceutical industry, which accounts for 30,000 direct jobs, makes the second most important contribution to the economy after the agri-food sector, according to the survey. The technology industry was cited by 17% of respondents as the most important contributor to the economy due to the value of its exports.

Respondents ranked new medicines third when asked to cite what is most important for the future of healthcare. Investing in more doctors and nurses was deemed most important, with 47% of respondents choosing that option. Investing in new hospitals came second at 31%.

Marking the launch of BioPharma Ambition 2020, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, said: “BioPharma Ambition is an important gathering space for one of Ireland’s most consequential investors, with a deep employment footprint across the regions. The Government’s enterprise agenda, ‘Future Jobs Ireland’, is about shaping policy to help to prepare Ireland for the economy of tomorrow. The biopharmaceutical industry is at the centre of enormous innovation, bringing forward new treatments for complex diseases and supporting some 30,000 high-quality jobs. The Government fully supports BioPharma Ambition as a strategic initiative for Ireland’s ever-evolving innovation-intensive economy.”

BioPharma Ambition is led by the biopharmaceutical industry’s representative bodies, IPHA and BPCI, and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT).

Oliver O’Connor, the Chief Executive of IPHA, said: “We hope BioPharma Ambition can catalyse industry-Government-academic partnership so that, together, we can prepare for the future of medicines innovation, especially the gains, socially, economically and clinically, this can deliver for Ireland. It is critical that we get things right across the medicines lifecycle - from discovery through to development and on to manufacture and adoption.”

Matt Moran, Director of BPCI, said: “Ireland is a leading global location for biopharmaceutical manufacturing and development. We must retain, and build on, that position. The next wave of biopharmaceutical innovation will require a supportive operating environment, the availability of skills and talent, and major industry investments. All this will take collaboration, especially between the public and private sectors. BioPharma Ambition helps to build these important connections.”

Killian O’Driscoll, Director of Projects at NIBRT, said: “Through training and skills development, NIBRT and its partners are helping to bring forward the next generation of bioprocessing talent. BioPharma Ambition, which we are delighted to support, is an important event in making Ireland a leading location for medicines innovation and investment.”

To register for BioPharma Ambition and find out more about the event, see www.biopharmaambition.com.