As the unemployment rate hovers around 9.1%, the federal government needs to find ways to create jobs. Congress is debating whether a tax break on repatriated money would prompt companies to hire more workers, as I mentioned last week. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is eyeing another potential means of stimulating job growth: investing in biological research.
When he signed the America Invents Act in September, President Obama committed to developing a National Bioeconomy Blueprint by January 2012. The blueprint will describe ways to manage investment in biological research to improve the nation’s health and create the “jobs of the future.” Aside from identifying potentially productive investments in R&D, the blueprint will also describe regulatory reforms to reduce burdens on biopharmaceutical manufacturers.
Illustrating the maxim that great minds think alike, FDA is already seeking to identify and reform burdensome and inefficient regulations as part of its own initiative to stimulate biomedical innovation. At the same time, the agency plans to establish a common understanding among stakeholders to clear the approval pathway for exceptionally promising therapies. These goals are included in the agency’s recent report titled Driving Biomedical Innovation: Initiatives to Improve Products for Patients.
Biological research is the foundation of a significant portion of the American economy, as the White House website notes. The combined efforts of the president and FDA could help discover and develop new therapies. If they also encourage biopharmaceutical companies to hire new employees, they will help mitigate an urgent problem that has not yet been addressed sufficiently.