Boston Business Journal | Commentary: The small-molecule ‘penalty’ is a threat to Mass. biotech sector

Feb 24, 2024

By Kendalle Burlin O'Connell and John Stanford

The following is an excerpt of an op/ed by MassBio CEO and President Kendalle Burlin O’Connell and John Stanford, the executive director of Incubate, a Washington-based coalition of life science venture capitalists, in the Boston Business Journal on February 9, 2024:

The scientific and medical potential of new small-molecule treatments is vast, especially for various cancers, Alzheimer’s, and neurological disorders. The scientific promise of small molecules has not declined since the IRA took effect, but the investment climate is now very different. 

This is not a difficult problem for Congress to solve. Lawmakers just need to level-up the exemption period for small-molecule medications to 13 years, the same as biologics. That will enable science to direct the best opportunities for patients. 

The biotech sector in Massachusetts is a vital economic engine, employing nearly 114,000 people. Some 32% of total biotech venture capital funding nationwide flows to Massachusetts companies.

Let’s make sure this funding goes where it has the most potential for good. Congress must eliminate the small-molecule penalty by setting the exemption period before price negotiations at a uniform 13 years. 

Read the full op/ed in the BBJ.

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