About ITIF’s Center for Life Sciences Innovation
Life sciences innovation has long played a pivotal role in lengthening lifespans and improving quality of life for individuals and societies around the world—and that is true now more than ever. In fact, one study found that pharmaceutical innovation accounted for nearly three-quarters of the increase in life expectancy across 30 nations in the first decade of the 21st century. That is why stimulating greater levels of life sciences innovation globally—and facilitating access to the products of that innovation—represents one of the most important policy challenges of our time.
In recent decades, the United States has become the world’s leader in life sciences innovation, in large part because of intentional public policy choices, most importantly: robust and complementary public and private investments in biomedical research and development (R&D); tax policies and other incentives to encourage biomedical investment; robust intellectual property (IP) rights and policies such as the Bayh-Dole Act to support biomedical technology development, transfer, and commercialization; a drug pricing system that allows innovators to earn enough revenue to continue investing in future cycles of biomedical innovation; and an efficient regulatory system for approving new drugs.
But the policy environment underpinning successful life sciences innovation is increasingly under threat in the United States and many other nations. In particular, it’s under assault from progressive populists and libertarian conservatives on the right who object to both the public-private policy framework and the results it produces.
Progressive populists assert that biopharmaceutical companies charge too much for medicines, so they call for governments to impose price controls on drugs, weaken IP protections, or take over drug innovation efforts entirely. On the other side, libertarian conservatives discount the legitimacy and efficacy of federal investments in basic life sciences research.
Against this backdrop, ITIF’s Center for Life Sciences Innovation advocates for accelerating biopharmaceutical innovation by recognizing that the public and private sectors both have essential roles to play. The Center’s mission is to study and advance the many technology, economic, and policy factors underpinning successful life sciences innovation—from how new technologies like artificial intelligence, genomics, and gene editing are powering the next generation of biomedical innovation to the economics of life sciences innovation, including the role of IP and incentives therein; international competitiveness in life sciences innovation; and foremost the optimal set of public policies, at home and abroad, to spur greater levels of much-needed biopharmaceutical innovation.
Led by ITIF’s vice president of global innovation policy, Stephen Ezell, ITIF’s Center for Life Sciences Innovation conducts original economic and policy research, publishes actionable policy analysis, organizes high-level discussions and events, and engages with policymakers globally to advance national and international policy environments that will stimulate greater levels of biopharmaceutical innovation. Visit the Center’s homepage for the latest publications and events and to learn more about its staff and advisors.