Friday, November 2, 2012

Patients' tales, biotech legends add weight to BayBio awards

Genentech co-founder Herb Boyer.
When two or more biotechs are gathered, you hear the usual phrases, including the old standby, “We're serving patients with unmet medical needs.”
Box checked, move on to other things and the phrase quietly floats away.
BayBio, Northern California’s life sciences industry trade group, has been beating the “for the patients” drum for the past couple of years especially -- and it didn’t stop at the organization’s annual Pantheon event Thursday night. Problem is, when you hear rote phrases so often, they start to bounce off of you.
That is, until something like this year’s Pantheon ceremony. Many of the companies winning BayBio's DiNA awards brought patients with them to accept their plaques; some actually let patients tell their stories.
Putting patients in front of corporate slide decks is needed by the biotech industry, which has been wringing its collective hands over cuts in research funding and the drought of venture capital cash. Telling those stories, or actually helping patients tell their own stories outside of industry settings, could win over leery legislators and a weary public that feels bombarded with stories of unsafe drugs and failed clinical trials.

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