Highlighting the Benefit of Vermont Clinical Trials for Patients, State Economy
Working with Vermont research institutions, including the University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, the nation’s biopharmaceutical research companies have conducted 566 clinical trials of new medicines since 1999, according to a new report released today and highlighted at a panel discussion in Burlington. According to the latest data from 2011, this activity also generated $267 million per year in economic activity in the state.
The “Research in Your Backyard: Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials in Vermont” report and cutting-edge research by Vermont scientists were the focus of the event, with Governor Shumlin providing keynote remarks. Sponsored by Vermont Biosciences Alliance, the University of Vermont, Fletcher Allen Health Care and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the panelists included several University of Vermont disease researchers, patient advocate Michael O’Connor, past president of the Vermont Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, Green Mountain Antibodies Inc. President and Vermont Biosciences Alliance Chairman Bill Church and PhRMA Executive Vice President Bill Chin.
The report shows that over half of the medicines clinically tested by biopharmaceutical companies and research collaborators in Vermont have targeted the nation’s most debilitating chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, asthma and mental illnesses. And in 2011, the biopharmaceutical research sector supported nearly 1,500 jobs in the state, including clinicians at local institutions that conduct clinical trials.
“We want to attract these trials to our state, considering the benefits of clinical research to patients and the local institutions that conduct trials,” said Governor Shumlin. “These companies allow talented researchers in Vermont to help develop new treatments for cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses in need of new treatments. Our scientists are part of an important ongoing effort to improve care for patients around the world.”
“The broad availability of clinical trials in Vermont results from a very productive relationship between the Academic Medical Center and industry. This has insured that promising novel treatments are locally available and that our community benefits from these emerging therapeutic opportunities,” said Ira M. Bernstein M.D., John Van Sicklen Maeck Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Senior Associate Dean for Research, University of Vermont College of Medicine
Biotechnology treatments in Vermont trials include a monoclonal antibody for lymphoma that is being tested at Mountainview Medical in Berlin and Fletcher Allen Health Care Medical Center. A monoclonal antibody for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is also being tested in the state, as is a recombinant fusion protein for age-related macular degeneration.
“Vermont is contributing to the advancement of science in very real, tangible ways through its clinical trial work with our companies,” said Dr. Bill Chin. “New medicines are only possible through collaboration, and Vermont demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships to elevate science and bring medicines to patients. These collaborations bring life-saving, life-enhancing biopharmaceutical discoveries to patients in need.”
The report shows that 48 chronic disease trials in the state, including 20 for cancer and 10 for heart disease, are still active and recruiting patients.
“It is important for patients and their doctors to be aware of clinical research in their communities,” said Chin. “Greater awareness and understanding about clinical trials would allow them to explore participating in the research, and the new report provides a helpful step for getting more information about Vermont’s active trials.”
Get more information on the report, including locations of Vermont clinical trials, here.