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

NEW YORK, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In his last public remarks as the leader of a large biopharmaceutical company, Sidney Taurel, chairman of Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), today said that the promise of personalized medicine won't become a reality unless markets and regulatory environments encourage and reward companies for the long-term, expensive research required to move innovative new products from the lab bench to the bedside.

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

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

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

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

"Early progress at Lilly makes clear that personalized medicine is no illusion," said Taurel. "However, personalized medicine also is not guaranteed."

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

"Innovation in life sciences depends on these set of basic requirements that seem perpetually under threat in political debates and policy deliberations," Taurel said. "Many of these approaches fly in the face of personalized medicine -- from slowing the progress for future innovation to reducing 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, including increasing personal choice and tapping health information. He labeled the third policy area as simply "working together."

"No single company, industry, agency, or even nation will add very much to improving 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 be required in our relationships with patients and doctors."

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

About Lilly

Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers -- through medicines and information -- for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at C-LLY

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SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company
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