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CEO Bob Bradway Discusses Industry’s COVID-19 Response at Fortune Conference


Single-cell sequencing scatter plot

"I'm optimistic that the biopharmaceutical industry will be able to bring down the risk of death” from COVID-19, said Amgen Chairman and CEO Bob Bradway during a fireside chat with Fortune Editor-in-Chief Clifton Leaf (pictured above at left) at the magazine’s fifth annual Brainstorm Health conference. Held virtually earlier this month, the meeting convened corporate leaders, health policy experts, government officials, and entrepreneurs to discuss how best to defeat the novel coronavirus, which to date has infected more than 13 million people worldwide and killed nearly 600,000.

Noting that well over 400 potential COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics are now in development, Bradway commented that “we’re witnessing an unprecedented amount of effort, energy, speed, and collaboration by the healthcare ecosystem” in trying to wrestle the virus to ground. He cautioned, however, that the effort is “probably not as well coordinated as it could be” as companies look to recruit many of the same patients for their clinical trials.

Citing Amgen’s decades of experience in inflammatory disease, Bradway noted that Amgen’s Otezla® (apremilast) will soon be entering clinical trials to determine if it can ameliorate serious coronavirus infections.

Bradway emphasized that the pandemic has underscored the importance of improving our ability to predict and prevent disease. “All too often in our healthcare system,” he observed, “we wait until something is broken and then we try to fix it, and then try to return people back to their normal lives. We can do a lot better than that, and I think we should.”

Much of heart disease and osteoporosis, for instance, can be predicted and prevented, saving costs to the healthcare system and helping patients stay healthy and out of the hospital. Bradway noted that advances in genetics and proteomics are making it easier to predict who is at risk of disease and get them on the right preventive therapy. “’Predict and prevent’ is a paradigm that’s possible today, and it’s something that makes a lot more sense than our ‘break and fix’ approach to healthcare,” Bradway concluded.

Click here to read Fortune’s coverage of Bob Bradway’s remarks at this year’s Brainstorm Health virtual conference.