Boston Globe: Biotechs face challenges as the industry’s annual bash returns to Boston

Jun 04, 2023

By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff

The following is an excerpt from the Sunday edition of The Boston Globe on June 4, 2023.

One change at this week’s BIO will be visible from the dais. At an event long dominated by men, the hosts will be two women who were born in Massachusetts: King, a former biotech entrepreneur who took the helm at BIO last fall, and Kendalle Burlin O’Connell, an attorney promoted to chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council in January.

They and others at the convention are focused on mounting business and regulatory changes: a slowdown in funding, calls to rein in fast-tracked drug approvals, and a new law empowering Medicare, the federal agency that insures Americans over 65, to negotiate the price of some medicines for the first time.

Those trends are being carefully watched in Massachusetts, a long-time biotech hub that’s home to more than 1,000 drugmakers. For decades, biotechs here have rolled out treatments for diseases such as multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis. They’re now working on novel therapies for cancers and Alzheimer’s amid uncertainty over how they’ll be paid, or whether they’ll be paid enough to justify huge drug development investments.

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