BIO chief executive James Greenwood to step down after 2020 US elections

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) announced Tuesday that its chief executive James Greenwood will leave the trade and lobbying group after the US elections next year. Greenwood's departure is timed to "help transition a new leader to represent the industry globally and to defend innovation from domestic political attacks," the group stated.   

Under Greenwood's tenure, which spanned over 14 years, the organisation tripled in size with 176 employees and an operating budget of $85 million. BIO said Greenwood helped establish the organisation as a "pragmatic voice" in Washington, leading negotiations with the US Congress to promote patient-centred drug development and helping to drive the establishment of the biosimilars sector. The group also credited Greenwood with helping to ensure passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which expanded the use of biomarkers, innovative clinical trials and real-world evidence in FDA scientific decisions.  

According to Rich Masters, BIO's executive vice president for public affairs, Greenwood will assist in the selection of his successor. "I will continue my full-throated advocacy to ensure our elected officials do not kill innovation in a populist furore and prevent our scientists from delivering a new generation of genomic cures," stated Greenwood. 

He said one of his biggest wins was ensuring branded biologics were given 12 years of exclusivity when lawmakers created a pathway for biosimilars while shaping Obamacare. The measure received bipartisan support at the time, although Greenwood believes the environment that allowed for that type of compromise no longer exists. Manatt Health senior adviser Ian Spatz also indicated that the ground on which industry lobbyists currently fight "has changed substantially with [US President Donald Trump's] election." 

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently introduced legislation that would allow Medicare and other health programmes to negotiate prices on some drugs. Her plan also called for the creation of an international pricing index linking drug prices to those in other countries, echoing a similar proposal unveiled by the Trump administration last year. 

BIO spent $6 million on lobbying over the first six months of 2019 in response to increasing scrutiny of drug pricing in the US.   

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