Bentley's Ledley Testifies at 21st Century Cures Hearing

June 11, 2014

Bentley's Dr. Fred Ledley testified at the House of Representative’s Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Dr. Ledley testified before the Subcommittee on Health hearing entitled “21st Century Cures: Examining the Role of Incentives in Advancing Treatments and Cures for Patients.” 

His testimony focused on business incentives that would encourage the development of the highly innovative medicines that are being enabled by the rapid advance of science, including some of the work being done at the Center for Integration of Science and Industry.   

An excerpt:

I am here today to share my perspectives as a physician and pediatrician, and my experience as an entrepreneur and executive in the biotechnology industry.

 If I leave you with one take away message today, it is that the role of incentives should be to promote the discovery and development of 21st  century cures based on 21st  century science.

This innovation requires sustained support for translational science, from the early stages of basic research, through drug discovery and drug development. This innovation also requires certainty that the pricing of new products will reflect the value brought to the market, as well as incentives for entrepreneurship. Patent rights advance this agenda by protecting the inventor’s priority to novel art so that it can be developed and commercialized. Statutory exclusivities granted to older products can inhibit innovation by drawing away time, talent, and resources from the discovery of new cures. I urge the Committee to focus on the mission of advancing 21st century cures with incentives that promote cures based on the science of the 21st  century

Even with market incentives, however, the transition to 21st  century cures faces an uncertain path that needs to be nurtured with strategic incentives. The problem for gene therapy, and many other, innovative cures, is that there are no mechanisms for continuous, sustained support of translational science from the first stages of basic research through drug discovery and drug development.

There is a role for incentives that engage stakeholders in the long-term success of innovation. Such incentives could include accounting standards that assign value to investments in R&D (Ledley 2013), valuation models that value the intermediate products and stages of innovation (McNamee and Ledley 2013), as well as tax rates and shareholder rights (Lipton 2014) that favor long-term investments.

The reason we are here today is that the treatments and cures that were developed from 20th  century science are not good enough; there are critical unmet needs in diseases that remain untreatable and healthcare costs that seem to be out of control. Incremental improvements or new indications for older products will not meet these needs and can be counterproductive to generating new treatments and cures from 21st  century science. In closing, I urge the Committee to focus on the mission of advancing 21st  century cures with incentives that move the industry forward from the products based on the science of an earlier age.

To read the full testimony visit:

Video from the hearing is online at


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