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Americans Remain Optimistic About Future of Biotechnology Despite Serious Industry Concerns

The <a href="">Biotechnology Industry Organization</a> (BIO) today unveiled several new opinion surveys at the <a href="">2012 BIO International Convention</a>, taking place this week in Boston.</p>

More Than Half of American Biotechnology Firms Say They Have Been Approached to Move Operations and Jobs Overseas

BOSTON (June 20, 2012) -- The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today unveiled several new opinion surveys at the 2012 BIO International Convention, taking place this week in Boston.  The surveys - conducted by the bipartisan pairing of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates - found:

  • More than three quarters of American voters (85 percent) – and nearly all biotechnology industry leaders (90 percent) –  are optimistic that science and technology will find cures to help patients suffering from serious diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, HIV/AIDS and diabetes
  • More than half of biotech industry leaders (58 percent) say federal government regulation has had a negative impact on the industry
  • A majority of American voters (56 percent) believe the government should support biotechnology innovation, either through tax policies designed to encourage private investment or through direct investment in biotech
  • Voters rate finding cures to serious diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's and HIV/AIDs second in importance only to improving the economy and ahead of combating terrorism, reducing the federal deficit and addressing illegal immigration
  • More than half (52 percent) of the biotech industry leaders surveyed reported being approached by a foreign government or foreign business development organization to move their company's operations overseas  
  • A solid majority (68 percent) of industry leaders cited partisan gridlock in Washington, DC a critical concern over the next five to ten years.

"These survey results are clear: The American people want policymakers to support cutting-edge research that will enable biotechnology to fulfill its potential to heal, fuel and feed the world,” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of BIO.   “We are at a critical crossroads.  We need policies in place that support investment in biotech innovation and a more streamlined regulatory process that properly protects patient safety and speeds the delivery of breakthrough medicines and cures to sick patients or we risk losing America’s leadership in biotech innovation.”

The research included a survey of national voter attitudes, a survey of biotechnology executives and a third survey examining the attitudes of those attending the 2012 BIO International Convention.

Biotechnology Executives Concerned About Regulatory Burdens, Less Optimistic

The survey of executives at BIO members companies found these industry leaders believe government regulation has had a negative impact on the biotech industry and this is largely unchanged compared to a survey conducted on behalf of BIO five years ago (58 percent today vs. 56 percent in 2007).  They are less optimistic today than they were in 2007 (63 percent compared to 79 percent) that, in the future, the biotechnology industry will continue to develop new therapeutics and products to help address global needs in healthcare, agriculture, energy and the environment.

When compared to BIO’s 2007 survey, today’s industry executives reported the following:

  • Almost twice as many say the lack of available capital is going to be a difficult challenge over the next 5 to 10 years (33 percent in 2007, compared to 62 percent in 2012)
  • Almost two-thirds view regulatory burdens as a coming challenge (55 percent in 2007, compared to 62 percent in 2012)
  • Three times as many view the effect of federal, state and local taxes on the industry as a difficult challenge over the next decade (9 percent in 2007, compared to 27 percent in 2012).

Other key findings in the research include:

  • More than three-quarters (82 percent) of the biotech executives surveyed confirmed that making the federal regulatory approval process more efficient and transparent, without compromising consumer safety, would be helpful to the industry
  • Likewise, 65 percent of the voters surveyed supported creating an accelerated approval process at the Food and Drug Administration that could speed cures to those in need, such as patients suffering from cruel and deadly diseases, like cancer and Alzheimer's.


The national surveys of N=169 BIO member company executives and of N=800 registered voters were conducted May 14-24 and May 20-23, 2012, respectively, by Public Opinion Strategies and Peter D. Hart Research Associates on behalf of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Download a complete summary of the findings

Public Opinion Strategies (POS) and Hart Research Associates are leading national survey research companies who have been at the cutting edge of change in the field of public opinion for several decades.  The firms partner on a number of bi-partisan research efforts, not least of which is the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll – a flagship survey that is widely regarded as a barometer of American opinion.