The importance of research and the value it brings to our country was highlighted by Paula Alves, iBET’s CEO, in the October edition of APIFARMA (Association of Portuguese Pharmaceutic Industry) Interviews.
For Portugal, “research is super-important because the creation of value that is generated by knowledge can be amplified in several ways in all areas”, explains Paula, allowing, upstream, the involvement “in the generation of high-quality products”, which, in the case of iBET, are the “field of biopharmaceuticals and new therapies”.
Paula Alves added that “What we have been doing in Portugal is trying to see the pieces that are necessary to carry out research in this area [cell and gene therapies] and then understanding the value creation it can bring to companies”. As a result of this commitment, “the international pharmaceutical industry approaches us – because they acknowledge the innovation and research hub built by iBET, and how it has been growing – to invest in the research we do”.
In addition to the “results that these new therapies have for people’s health”, not only is it possible to “export knowledge and research, but also to create highly qualified jobs for people we were training and who had to go abroad”, allowing them to “create value for the country”.
In another perspective, Paula Alves defends the “importance of having more phase I clinical trials in Portugal”, something highly valued by international companies. By being able to bring together “research, process development, production of batches for clinical trials and having researchers in the clinical context, the doctors, we are able to offer a package as a country that is much more appealing [to attract phase I trials]”.
At the moment, it is not possible to carry out phase I trials of gene and cell therapy in Portugal. Changing this circumstance would certainly be also very appealing to clinicians, because “often what happens, is that some of them know that there are innovative products that could benefit their patients but they cannot involve them”.
“If we organized ourselves”, she concludes, if “we gave more autonomy to clinical centers to carry out research and valued research more in medical careers, we would be able to boost the investment that has been made in research and which led to the good research centers we have in Portugal”, she emphasizes.