tv Washington Journal Dr. Jeremy Levin CSPAN July 14, 2020 1:24pm-2:03pm EDT
it can make them as simple as possible and while still trying to achieve their objectives and more complex the more likely it is for people to attempt to gain it in some way or other. >> called, president of economic policy at the tax foundation email@example.com. ialways appreciate you coming on the program . >> a discussion now on the biotech industry and what will play in the fight against coronavirus, doctor jeremy levin chairman of the innovation organization the ego as well as other therapeutics. jeremy levin, explain what encompasses the biotech industry. how many companies are we talking about and what's the difference between biotech and big pharma . >> that's a great question. biotech industry was formulated in the united states.
it started it. it essentially was the industry which was unpacking the biology of cells and understanding how those biology cells could be used to make new medicines, a little different from what pharma was an pharma in the past was essentially trying out medicines on animals and seeing if they work and then put them into a human being a clinical trial process once we understood how the genes work, once we knew how to manipulate those jeans, a whole new ability to transform what we knew about cells into medicines came into being. this was areal revolution , and about in the 70s and walked through to the 80s and then now today there are approximately a couple thousand companies, about 700 of whom are members of bio, many are private. they are now much smaller industries in the europe and in asia and actually, these small companies although they are tiny and they represent
no more than any one of the big companies in terms of numbers, they're generating about 70 70 percent of all the medicine. what's the difference? it's simple. in the biotech industry there is an absolute focus on patients and innovation. new ideas. new ways of delivering medicine. and those two coupled together often are supported by investors. those investors by the stocks of those companies. the pharmaceutical companies however a very different structure . they take these medicines and now they sell them through insurance companies and others to patients. they are huge. they're very substantial and often the way that their financed, their financed essentially by the payment of insurance through insurance companies and payers pay them so it's a different
imperative, one getting a return to investors through innovation and ensuring that what they're developing is critical for patients and then the other who have to deal with the very complex health system that we have for receiving its revenues and enabling it to actually take these innovations and get them to patients. >> of all these biotech companies big and small what percentage of them would you say after the majority of their focus to coronavirus topics . >> this is a great, great question. to answer that you have to understand how what we are, what existed on january 1, 2020. they were less than a handful of programs. today, there are over 600 unique programs on going.of which about 160 270 on new vaccines.
hundred 80 on new ways of attacking the virus, trying to kill it.and then there are a whole slew which are about 200 plus, 270+ where people where companies are trying their existing medicines. though what has gone on during this time is literally hundreds of companies have visited their unique habits, very unique. awartime and actually . >> how does that ramp-up, that can compare to medical challenges of the past. two sars 48. how quickly and how much it the biotech industry turn to try to solve those issues in the past. >> perhaps an even more close response, closer analogy might be returned back to 2007. when we were trying to crack open cancer.
anticancer was really much of the thinking had been very online. at that time there were approximately four or five companies who were actually not in themainstream . they were working on what was called immune oncology. the way to get a white cell to attack the cancer. mobilize the body's defenses to attack the cancer. and as a consequence of that, we have a situation at that time where you had an enormous number of patients dying, and just a few guys on the sideline. in 20, in what happened which was fascinating, was approximately on 2009, bristol-myers group what a company called x, a biotech company and from, then they had half a dozen clinical trials read you fast-forward,
it took 10 years from that time and what we saw at that moment was that we had a massive , massive, massive in norma's number of trials read if you present, a fully 50 percent of these entire biotech industries by january of this year was focused on this. hundreds and hundreds of companies a decade. sars, each one and one. much more rapid, people responded but only handful of companies responded at the time and by the time they responded in fact much of the way that what overhead read it equally took nearly a decade and one of the leading companies at that time , gilead is also one of the leading companies today but nothing of the scale that you've seen here read billions of dollars have gone in over 67 weeks, 6 to 7 months. versus the same over many decades in cancer and the same early on in a. >> doctor jeremy levin joining us from his home in
connecticut . to talk about the biotech industry, the role that they are playing it comes to the fight against coronavirus red phone lines lit up regionally . if you want to give us a call and join the conversation 202-748-8000, if you live in eastern or central time zone 202-748-8000 if you're in the mountain or pacific time zone , a special line for medical professionals, 202 48 8002. we mentioned your work with avid therapeutics, your chairman of the biotechnology innovation organization. what is bio for viewers who are familiar? >> guest: bio is an organization which is 25 years old and it represents all the innovative companies in the industry. the vast majority of them. it represents them on congress, it tries to persuade congress and the fda and others who are important to getting innovative medicines to understand what
will be critical for america. we take a strategic view. we believe we as an organization see biotechnology as a strategic asset for america. under the consequence our job is to translate the needs of all of the industrial companies into policies that could be enacted through government and on the local level we also work with the regional governors to explain to them just what we are trying to accomplish, what the industry can do for them in terms of employment, what it can do in terms of innovation and the general economy so it's a very important and critical role actually in this our nation, not just by the way for medicine but also for the environment and for agriculture, which has critical components of
biotechnology which allow you to improve environment, agricultural products. so that's what we do area we have our dedicated organization led by a marvelous leader called michelle mcmurray. he is joined us recently as the new ceo and is really focusing on patients and innovation. >> we talked about how much the biotech industry has turned its focus to coronavirus. whoever develops a vaccine first is going to literally have the entire world as their market to sell that vaccine. so in your role as trying to be a voice for the industry, how much is the industry cooperating with each other ? how much competition is there to be the first to develop this and is that holding back any speed of innovation? >> guest: great question. i think there is number one,
competition is really good in innovation. you learn from other people. you compete with other people because what you want to be is not just the first developing a new car. that's not the issue. the issue can you find a better way of developing a vaccine. can you find a better vaccine and we see this work repeatedly in medicine, if you start with something old and then you get something better and better. though no, it's actually the competition is extremely healthy and very important . what do you do about however is there is there's a certain noncompetitive things everybody should know and an example of that was what we learned from the sars and h1 and one episode. there, because we had really studied the genes of these viruses, that was shared very quickly with all of the companies who said now, find a better vaccine.
so what happened there was by sharing that type of information, you're immediately enabling companies to put their best brains on this idea and say i like that jean, how do i get a better vaccine. it is not a trivial exercise. very difficult to find a vaccine. very difficult to find medicine so the more you have , the better brains you have focused on, the better it is and i would say one other thing read what we seen amongst the companies is a high degree of cooperation of the type i described. things that will enable each separate company to be brought to fruition. much of this data has been shared you have to take your hat off to the large companies. astrazeneca, j and j, in addition to the biotech companies are sharing quite freely the critical what i call noncompetitive information.
>> which is what. >> its gene sequences. it's the understanding of the medical outcomes of these disorders. how you would measure the effects of your medicine on a patient. those are things that everybody needs to know. >> you mentioned some of the brains of these companies area you highlight some of them in a new book that you edited. biotechnology and the time of kobe 19. who are some of the brains you talk about. >> ,there are 47 different authors which came together over a training of approximately four weeks actually. i asked all of the top thinkers that i could who were able to and was remarkably they did step forward. all the top thinkers to stand up and talk about what they were doing. how they weredoing less about theirproducts , more about how they committed . so you have leaders like george stangl, george, a
really well-known leader in the area who has any plum from decatur, you have a number of others who really you have all people from gilead. you have people from roche, you have just everybody stepping forward because what they wanted to do is to show how they were thinking. what made them turn. not necessarily their specific product but what they saw coming outof this. i could reach in a number of others , these are people who centric french law. each one of them had a different approach. each one of them was set the stage for what you see in front of you. these 600 different approaches now to the, handling this disorder.
>> host: dj writes in on twitter, so far what have the biotech companies done regarding covid ? >> guest: dj, your question is 100 percent correct. what they've done is that often times shutdown other programs number one. number two, they asked the question what kind of medicine can we develop and then they have advanced several of these companies have run the experiment. they've done what are called phase one trials. there in the midst of getting into their phase 2. phase 1 is where you test initial safety. phase ii you're asking the question do i have a drug, do i have a vaccine that might work so there's a slew of these which are advancing into that phase 1, phase 2 process so if you ask what have theydone , you won't get like the little duck feet where i can give you the numbers but be assured they are moving through and the press is watching this. many of these results will
start to show due date or don't they in the case of vaccines raise the right kind of immune response and defend against the virus. and in the case of antivirals are they killing off the virus in an effective way that will actually result in a treatment and i'm confident that given the time that we're going through now, this is moving at a speed that we've never actually seen before. this is literally moving at a speed we've never seen before. just to give you a metric there it can take up to 10 years to find the right kind of vaccine , for herpes, anything. here we are six months in and we know that we have already six or seven or actually already in phasei being tested . that's really lightning fast. >> host: when you think we will have a vaccine by?
>> there are several answers your question. number one when we really have a vaccine that we know is safe, when will we have a vaccine that is produced in a way that is deficient for the populist to have all of us be vaccinated. those are twodifferent questions. i anticipate that within this next six months period we will definitely know do we have a vaccine that works , it would be most surprising if we didn't read there are answers to the question is in parallel have we actually developed the manufacturing capacity to deliver literally hundreds of millions of doses . that nontrivial area there's these are very skilled executives, doctor munson's alluring who used to be at jfk, who was the head of vaccines there is now leading a task force specifically looking at how you produce these vaccines and how you coordinate the production of them. it should be noted that
months are in fact was involved fiercely with the industry started to think about very quickly h1 and one in the sars so this is a highly skilled individual is beginning to coordinate this and it's my expectation that his leadership will actually deliver on the manufacturing and let's not forget we have companies like j&j, psk, merck, all of whom have stepped forward and all of them are sayingthey're going to bring the power of the manufacturing into this . >> doctor jeremy levin is our guest in this last segment area the editor of the new book biotechnology and the time of kobe 19 and also chair of the biotechnology innovation organization here to take your phone calls. phone line with thatspecial line for medical professionals and plenty of calls for you . tom is a first in pennsylvania. >> glad to hear you are being careful area i wish you were
this careful when you push the opioids on everybody and committed all these murders and evictions butthat's another story i guess . we already have a pill. it's hydroxychloroquine. and how medical experts and people use this as a political football just because our president takes it saying it's no good is ridiculous. it works, that's a fact and i don't understand what the political argument is here. >> host: i'll let you weigh in on. >> guest: question, thank you . this will be the appalling behavior of those, a small handful of large companies push the opioid crisis can never be forgiven. you should know i personally led attack on this with bio.
we have a full-blown attack this wasn't yesterday, it started three years ago area and bio is intimatelyinvolved in generating new products . through the industry, for this and i couldn't agree more with you, this is a major issue that we should have solved it. i am delighted to see that those companies, those few companies. they are not representative of the industry they are not. they represent a tiny fraction. but i want to be clear. bio is deeply involved, has helped foster legislation, has helped encourage companies to invest in this area and i personally, my small town seen the devastation caused by those opioids and with regard to hydroxychloroquine i would urge you just to be a little careful. it's not a question of policy or politics or any one politician. it's a question of medical area i have used
hydroxychloroquine, i know what it does. i'm a physician area i've lived in africa. the evidence that speaks to it working in covid is extremely, extremely limited. it does not pass the acid test at this time of being an effective method. let me compare to what we've seen in other medicines that are coming up that are going to be looked at as an interesting, certainly something we should have looked at and thought about but not something that we in america should be distributing at this stage i would be very cautious. we need to look at medical facts , not let's forget all the politics. i agree with you completely this is all about facts and those facts are not speaking to the fact that it is helpful. >> host: want to talk about
your medical backgroundand some of the issues you've worked on over the years ? >> guest: on a fully trained doctor and i came to america and decided what i wanted to do was to devote myself tonew medicine . though what i have, i don't with medicines and i don't with medical situations in africa, asia. and actually even in america and what we see here, my interests are now devoted entirely to solving rare disorders of the brain. solving, can we buy medicines to fix those disorders and an example would be 23,000 patients across the united states, kids are born this way and become addicted, they can't walk, they don't sleep well. they have behavioral problems, they can't communicate and nobody wants to find a medicine for them. that's when i let a company called heather i was the largest generic company
leader and we dealt with millions of patients and now i come back to america and i'm devoting myself to these types of disorders where nobody else wanted to go and this is a very pivotalyear for us . >> host: what's happening with the research and efforts on those disorders commit so many companies in your industry turning their attention to the coronavirus, to solving covid. are those issues being left behind? >> this is such an important comment, to give everybody a metric, there are approximately 7000 real diseases. ronald reagan was tremendously foresight full in creating a legislation called the greg act. that allowed us companies to start thinking about how we could actually address these disorders.
of the 700 are about 300 who have had actually treatment. now, these treatments are tremendously difficult to develop and in particular we have covid come in a lot of these investments that would go into companies like this swing away from the companies that are focusing on rare diseases and if you want to know howmany individuals there are , 30 million americans, 30 million americans suffer from it or it is not trivial, it's big red consequences of that is that clearly covid has had an impact. there's been a lesserinterest however in certain cases like ourselves . wejust will not be deviated from it . my team once to make sure these patients are served and therefore for example today we announce an agreement with a company in europe,
angelini. that agreement will allow us to ensure that not just the individuals in america who have this but the individuals in europe will get the benefit of american innovation to treat the disorder there. i want you to know that we are facing a situation with covid where a lot of resourcefulness has moved and that's not abad thing by the way . i want to point out that as i said in january about 50 percent of all investments were going into solving cancer. now we have a shift into covid and i'm hoping that other disorders like for example congestive heart failure, diabetes, other ones that affect tens of millions of people will see some shift into them in a way that i think would be helpful. but to your point, there has been an impact on the rare diseases, not from companies like mine read my company will retain its focus while i help drive the innovation at the bio level on covid.
>> host: about a half an hour more, here to take your questions as we talk about the biotech industry. this is richardout of philly. good morning . >> good morning. i'm curious about the relationship between the hospitals and the biotech companies as it relates to genes. though is there a relationship and as a comment , i'm just concerned as an african-american as the new biotech discoveries come into being. how much of our gene population is considered from what i get sometimes the tests are kind of done from a broader population, american population more than specifically the african-american population therefore what is developed
is vaccines or cures that may not have the same effect but my initial question was what's the relationship between the biotech companies and the hospitals especially as it relates to covid. >> thank you for your question. the critical nature of the relationship specifically to that which you describe is when a company needs to test its medicine, its ideal way of testing it is in a very controlled medical setting. it goes to a hospital, it has to present to the doctor that that the hospital, there's no incentive involved. it hasto present the doctors involved a plan for how it will test its medicines on patients in those hospitals . there's a what's called an irb, it's institutional review body who looks at the safety, looks at the kinds of things that will be tested and then it will ask the question inside their hospital do they have the
patience? then they will have to have the trained physicians to monitor how the drug or the vaccine might be administered. with that in hand and by the way the physician has to pay the hospital to ensure that these trials are run rigorously and toensure that the hospitals and patients don't incur a cost so the relationship there is rigorous . it's ethical . and the whole attempt here is to find how a doctor can test out different medicines. ideally for example in great britain, astrazeneca is working with what's called the national health system. they are thereview body of physicians , a couple other companies can pass through a highly ethical standard of whether their drugs are safe or not and then the hospital doctors will decide which of their patients they will test
so i hope that explains it to you. it's an important relationship. >> wild and wonderful on twitter asks you regard doctor anthony fauci as trustworthy in the field over these decades there are very few people i have greater regard for. doctor fauci is an honest and ethical man and a terrific scientist. there is zero doubt , zero that this is one of the standout minds of our generation . and i think we all him a debt of gratitude. a debt of gratitude for his ability to stand up and to say what he says. he is a physician. he is a scientist. he looks at facts and nothing more. >> john is in michigan,you're
on with doctor jeremy levin . >> good morning america and good morning to c-span. to the doctor, do you think all of these funded companies should get federal money to do research and if they do, do you think we should have a type of medical system that we cover and take care of everybody like an obama care. do they provide money to organizations, biotech organizations to do research and do you think having a health system that helps everybody, the whole country , should we go towards that or should we go to the standard where you have the money, you
can get the health care and if you don't you just die like the republican plan is, hurry up and die and what do you do to a president that does not believe in science and does not believe scientists like fauci. >> host: you bring up a lot of issues and i'm going to let doctor jeremy levin jump in. >> i had the honor to you, thank you and i hear the passion in your voice and the question and the extent of the question . i am a doctor . my first, when i came to america i was delighted to become an immigrant area and i'm an immigrant area i'm an m.d. and a phd and i came to bring and devote myself to medicine and to patients in this country. that was my love and that's what i wanted to do and i now have the great privilege of doing that for a period of up to 30 years and i guess i'm getting on but the reality is my first year in washington dc, i saw a man die outside of my home in corcoran.
that's just unacceptable. in this country we are the greatest nation in the world. that we have tens and tens of millions of people who do not have adequate medical coverage is unacceptable. it's foolish actually. you weaken the nation by doing that. you drain our resources by doing that. health is one of the pillars of the democratic nation area and there is no doubt in my mind of that. in addition to the armed forces, in addition to a physical system that helps support this, health and education are the three pillars that defend democracy. i believe that there are countries which have really had the raw type medical systems at work area and we've had a medical system that is far too complicated, intricate and in fact as left
a large number of people behind. we need to address that and there's absolutely no doubt in my mind. >> host: a follow up on the colors question, how much money is the biotech industry about getting from the us government and from other governments around the world and in general when a company takes money from a government what's, what have they said they will give to those governments inexchange for that money ? >> i don't know what they've said to all of those companies but i do know something and that's where you have the taxpayers out often had to provide money to the federal government and the federal government dispenses that in different ways that eventually may lead to a medicine. not directly but what happens is in fact the federal government provides for example research at the nih. the nih generates research. once it generates an idea
sometimes that is then passed on to industry. when that occurs, industry has to now raise investors hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, sometimes billions of dollars to drive that product, to that medicine to do all the testing and turn it into a product so we need to be careful about what monies are donated to wear. there are very few governments that actually simply donate money to an entity. where they do,it might be manufacturing for example. it might be for other areas . however, please make no mistake. the vast majority of investment in new medicine comes from the private sources, the capital markets in the united states. this is important because that allows competitive
selections, itallows you to move forward in a way that would not be possible if you had say for example a russian government , a totalitarian government, a government that doesn't care about its people say here's money to my friend in that company and you will now produce it for us, the government area that doesn't work. that is wrong and should never be the outcome in the event that there is substantial participation by the government in all of the cycles of developing a medicine and i mean the hundreds of billions of dollars that get invested after you've done the basic research which is not a medicine and of course we will have to think about how we can actually redress that in terms of contracts with the government , but it is a mistake to think that the government pays for the development of medicine. it does not. it's the investment of it.
>> to cleveland ohio thisis jane, good morning. >> thanks for taking my call doctor levin , i may not have caught what you said exactly right but i thought i heard you say that in january of 2020, there were only a handful of researches doing work on pandemics but since covid there's been legions of them. and what i'm wondering is laurie garrett's big volumes of reporting on research on pandemics, that was in 2000, 2002 and four years before that i was reading about research that had been done in public health so it surprised me that you said that there was only a handful of people doing that research
and i'm just wondering why? i'll take my answer on tv, thank you. >> that's a great question, thank you. it's my pleasure to try and answer it. look, this is not a satisfactory situation. there are, i said what was that in fact i handful of hundreds of companies and in fact there were all sorts of research programs in covid and other things which were shut down before that. it's nothing to do with the industry, it had to do with research. >> host: it was only a handful of companies focusing on coronavirus and covid in january. >> .. >> ..
there was no let's get ready for this, it's a very unsatisfactory circumstance and i think if there's one thing we learned is that we can never allow that to happen again. we simply can't. covid-19 will be followed by something else, will be followed whether it be a variant of this covid-19 or whether it be another type of coronavirus or whether it be another virus entirely. what we have learned from this is you are watching two decades and we knew about this and there
are plans in those plans are basically put aside in people's research was put aside, not other companies but even in the research labs they were not prioritized and as a consequence you seen the results. this is not alone. we are ready already have another experience in the experience, for a simple, on antibiotic resistance would be ever have imagined that today that in some -- spirit we take you live now to williamston, delaware, joe biden is talking about his plan for clean energy development. watching live coverage here on c-span2. >> i have to start by speaking about what millions of americans know when they wake up every morning with worry, anxiety and fear. you're still a country in crisis. the pandemic has affected more than a million americans a