Lilly Chairman Taurel Says Promise of Personalized Medicine Could be Jeopardized by Short-Sighted Public Policies

Saturday, December 13, 2008 General News
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NEW YORK, Dec. 12 In his last public remarks asthe leader of a large biopharmaceutical company, Sidney Taurel, chairman ofEli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), today said that the promise of personalizedmedicine won't become a reality unless markets and regulatory environmentsencourage and reward companies for the long-term, expensive research requiredto move innovative new products from the lab bench to the bedside.

Taurel, who will retire on December 31, after nearly 40 years in healthcare, today addressed an audience at the Center for Medical Progress of theManhattan Institute in New York City.

"I firmly believe that we stand on the cusp of an unprecedented period ofdiscovery and invention in the life sciences, in which our understanding ofindividual human differences replaces our pursuit of generalized wellbeing asthe main driver of medical progress," said Taurel.

Taurel said that the gap between medicine as an art and a true science mayfinally be closing. The decoding of the human genome has energized hopes fortruly personalized medicine.

"Today, there is hardly a molecule or an approved product anywhere inLilly's pipeline or portfolio that is not the subject of tailoring. Our goalis to give doctors the ability to prescribe for individual patients -- with amuch higher level of confidence -- the right dose of the right medicine andthe right time."

"Early progress at Lilly makes clear that personalized medicine is noillusion," said Taurel. "However, personalized medicine also is notguaranteed."

Taurel cautioned that policies that may be expedient in the short-term --like weakened patent protections for biotech medicines, price controls for newdrugs, or new regulatory hurdles between innovators and the marketplace --will slow the pace of innovation and leave future patients exposed to theravages of cancer and Alzheimer's longer than necessary.

"Innovation in life sciences depends on these set of basic requirementsthat seem perpetually under threat in political debates and policydeliberations," Taurel said. "Many of these approaches fly in the face ofpersonalized medicine -- from slowing the progress for future innovation toreducing the range of options available to doctors and patients."

Taurel offered three areas of policy innovation -- private and public --that might progress medical innovation and improve human health, includingincreasing personal choice and tapping health information. He labeled thethird policy area as simply "working together."

"No single company, industry, agency, or even nation will add very much toimproving human health by working on its own," said Taurel. "Rather,accelerating the development of new medicines will depend on collaboration,flexibility and trust. The same openness and spirit of partnership will berequired in our relationships with patients and doctors."

"The canvas of human health looks vastly better than today than it didwhen I began my career in the early 1970s. And I remain convinced that itwill look much better still -- from the vantage point of another generation --with many more of the details filled in by the artists of personalizedmedicine," concluded Taurel.

About Lilly

Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growingportfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products byapplying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and fromcollaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered inIndianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers -- through medicines andinformation -- for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additionalinformation about Lilly is available at C-LLY

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SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company

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