Alton: Public-private partnerships must continue despite shortfalls

Public-private partnerships require further research, funding and development to continue to effectively protect the U.S. population from bioterrorism, according to a representative from a major vaccine developer and manufacturer.

Jennifer B. Alton, the vice president of government affairs at Bavarian Nordic, Inc., said on Monday that the last 10 years saw major progress in the partnership between biotechnology companies and the federal government. Through Project BioShield, the public-private partnerships yielded more than 70 medical countermeasure products, including vaccines for the Strategic National Stockpile, Biotech Now reports.

Despite the massive progress, a September report by experts from the Alliance for Biosecurity and MD Becker Partners revealed that the public-private partnerships require improved leadership, increased transparency, long-term funding and streamlined contracting for medical countermeasures. Alton said that the fiscal challenges facing the U.S. are particularly limiting in the effort to meet national security goals.

"While private industry plays a critical role in taking risks to bring new treatments to the market, the U.S. government is sometimes the only customer," Alton said, according to Biotech Now. "In order to meet the national security objectives laid out 10 years ago and reaffirmed today, federal leaders must not allow funding shortfalls to erode progress made and prevent future progress."

Alton concluded by saying that drive, ownership and coordination are needed for public-private partnerships to continue the success of the last 10 years, Biotech Now reports.