In a Monday meeting with more than a dozen top biotechindustry leaders held in San Francisco, Vice President Al Goreunderscored the administration's commitment to protecting U.S.leadership in biotechnology.
The meeting was organized by Robertson Stephens & Co. andseveral biotechnology industry executives, including G. KirkRaab, chairman of the Biotechnology Industry Organization(BIO) and chief executive officer of Genentech Inc. Theorganizers hoped to be able to share with the vice presidentthe advances made in biotechnology and explain to him theimportance and fragility of the industry, according to LauraLeber, director of corporate communications at Genentech.
She said the meeting was positive and that Gore emphasizedthat the administration is listening to the industry andunderstands and cares about biotechnology.
"We will offer a comprehensive health-care reform plan thatpreserves the free-market incentives essential to continuedAmerican leadership in biotechnology," Gore told the group. "Itis the biotechnology industry that holds the greatest promisefor finding effective treatment and cures for the world's mostdreaded diseases."
Speaking for his industry colleagues, Raab told Gore: "We acceptour responsibility as members of the health-care industry tohelp hold down rising costs, but that has to be balanced againstour own internal needs to fund high-risk R&D. It is importantthat the administration is sensitive to that balancing act, andthat we will be working together, as a team, to find solutions."
The vice president assured his listeners that the administrationdoes indeed understand the special needs of biotechnologycompanies, including the risks associated with R&D."Biotechnology is exactly the type of industry that will benefitfrom the capital formation, incentive and market-drivenpolicies of the Clinton/Gore administration," said Gore.
Also attending the meeting were: Frank Baldino (Cephalon Inc.),David Beier (Genentech), Brook Byers (Kleiner Perkins Caufield& Byers), Lisa Conte (Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc.), CarlFeldbaum (BIO), Reinaldo Gomez (Terrapin Technologies Inc.),Jim Gower (Tularik Inc.), John Groom (Athena NeurosciencesInc.), Vaughn Kailian (Cor Therapeutics Inc.), Edward Penhoet(Chiron Corp.), Misha Petkevich (Robertson Stephens), TonyPodesta (Podesta Associates Inc.), Kirk Raab (Genentech Inc.),Sanford Robertson (Robertson Stephens), David Robinson(Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc.), Timothy Ryan (from U.S. Rep.Lynn Schenk's office), Steve Sherwin (Cell GeneSys Inc.), MarkSimon (Robertson Stephens) and Ken Widder (MolecularBiosystems Inc.). -- Jennifer Van Brunt
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