Impact 2020 is the culmination of nearly nine months of meetings, discussions, interviews, online and in-person focus-sessions with a diverse set of life sciences stakeholders about the future of the industry. What these conversations brought to light was that although the current headlines are rosy– the NASDAQ Biotech Index was up 60% at the end of 2013 and 37 biotech IPOs occurred last year—there is a very real reason for concern about the cluster’s future. With ongoing national conversation about healthcare costs and a shrinking pool of seed and early-stage funding options, the Massachusetts life sciences cluster is at a crossroads.
Impact 2020’s Advisory Board member Vicki Sato, Harvard Business School professor, captured the reason in her bold comment:
“The greatest threat to the Massachusetts life sciences cluster is a diminished reward for innovation. If healthcare reform undermines that incentive, this entire cluster could disappear overnight.”
– Vicki L. Sato, Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School
This document is a call for action. Over the next five years, we will see a transformation in healthcare, the outcome of which no one can fully predict. If life sciences industry leaders do not take a leadership role in crafting a balanced approach to assessing value, the rules will be dictated to them.
MassBio will continue to serve as the greatest advocate for the Massachusetts life sciences cluster and for all the life-altering therapeutic and diagnostic solutions that its academic research centers, teaching hospitals, and companies provide for patients. MassBio embraces and accepts the recommendations of this report as a mandate to advocate for change, to convene industry leaders, and to offer relevant programs that prepare our constituency to respond to the rapidly changing environment.
Bending the healthcare cost curve, constraints on government R&D spending, and consolidation of healthcare decision-making are global trends and the opportunity to influence these trends is not always local. But the cluster has a lot at stake and the decision on whether to take up the challenge will have global implications. Other life sciences clusters are looking to Massachusetts for leadership. Only in Massachusetts, where there is an aggregation of leadership across all sectors is rational change possible.
Therefore, the messages contained in this report are not limited to the leaders of the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, but extend to leaders of government, universities, hospitals, payers, service providers, investors, and other organizations involved in healthcare. If all agree that the life sciences cluster in Massachusetts is special, if new products emerging from local universities, hospitals, and companies are valuable, if consumers and patients deserve a better outcome, then all stakeholders must be engaged and ready to act with a sense of urgency. The implications of decisions today, the clinical trials that start or don’t start, the companies that are founded or not founded, will not be evident for 10 to 20 years.
Healthcare is all about patients, and value will ultimately be measured in patient outcomes. Massachusetts is in a strong position, but with success comes responsibility. MassBio and its Board are prepared to engage, provide leadership, champion innovation and ultimately help deliver meaningful new solutions for patients.