2013 Policy Principles to Promote Biotechnology
Biotechnology helps societies solve old problems in new ways. Through the science of using living cells and the discovery of new molecules, biotech innovation provides societies with innovative means to address their most urgent needs: fighting disease, feeding the hungry, and improving the environment.
- revealing the genetic origins of diseases – such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes – to find new methods and products to detect and treat them;
- boosting agricultural crop yields and reducing the environmental impact of farming; and
- enabling manufacturing processes that reduce waste, minimize water use, prevent pollution, and curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Biotechnology differs from other traditional forms of technology in that it harnesses the power of living systems and organisms to develop new, useful, and sustainable products. Biotechnology employs living cells to create new and more effective treatments of disease. It enables plant cells to be modified more rapidly and precisely than traditional plant breeding, thereby increasing agricultural productivity and reducing the use of synthetic pesticides. Biotechnology is the industry of the future.
Developing biotech products is scientifically demanding, capital intensive, time-consuming, and involves significant commercial risk. Securing the benefits of biotechnology requires a policy environment Biotechnology is: that enables scientists, businesses, investors, and regulators to work together to discover, develop, and bring to market innovative biotech products. Such an environment should:
- facilitate research cooperation among private, non-profit, and governmental organizations;
- protect intellectual property rights to attract the private investment necessary to support biotech innovation;
- provide a transparent and predictable regulatory approval process for new biotech products that is science-based and internationally recognized; and
- maintain transparent, non-discriminatory, competitive, and commercially viable markets for biotech products.
Countries all over the world are recognizing the importance of biotechnology to their economies, the health and well-being of their citizens, their food supply, and their ability to generate clean energy. Nearly every major country has adopted programs to generate a homegrown biotechnology sector and the well-paying jobs it supports. This paper draws its recommendations in part from countries’ best practices in building their biotech sectors.