In anticipation of the Trump presidency, GENETIC ENGINEERING & BIOTECHNOLOGY NEWS (GEN) surveyed 2,300 members of the global biotech community from industry and academia.
Of the 2,300 respondents, 47.70%, believe that the president-elect may not support NIH research funding. 19.74% said it would not make a difference, and 25.52% said Trump’s presidency would prove positive.
During the campaign, president-elect Trump hinted at possible support for higher NIH budgets, even as he has called for cutting federal spending: “We must make the commitment to invest in science, engineering, healthcare, and other areas that will make the lives of Americans better, safer, and more prosperous,” he has said.
58.7%, believe that STEM initiatives will not be a priority under a Trump administration. 23.48% are uncertain, but 17.83% believe that a Trump administration will focus attention on STEM education.
“The biotechnology industry is anxious about the likelihood of a brain drain, and this is of great concern,” said Mary Ann Liebert, founder and CEO of the 35-year-old industry leading magazine GEN, the most widely read biotechnology publication around the globe. “A plurality of respondents say they believe that foreign-born scientists who have been educated in the U.S. will be more likely to leave during a Trump presidency.”
On balance, a majority (60.35%) project that overseas researchers will still seek academic positions or jobs in the US biotech industry. 24.22% said they were uncertain. 15.43%, disagreed.
While president-elect Trump has proposed allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices as a means of lowering ever-rising prescription drug prices, and even called “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, the Turing Pharmaceuticals’ founder who received severe criticism earlier this year, “a spoiled brat,” close to half of respondents doubt that the president-elect will seek to contain those prices once he is sworn into office. 38.43% think Trump will do so, while 37.13%, an almost even split, believe he won’t. The remaining 24.43% are uncertain. 64.91% of respondents believe a Trump presidency will affect the value of shares in publicly traded biopharmas; 23.26% are uncertain, and 11.83% do not foresee any effect.
Opinions are mixed on whether corporate funding of life sciences research will be impacted: 54% say it will, 21.39% say it won’t, with remaining respondents saying they are uncertain.
Whether president-elect Trump can achieve that tax cut or other measures that benefit biopharma, remains uncertain.
“GEN will continue to survey the field as president-elect Trump makes appointments in the cabinet and other positions,” said Ms. Liebert. “The biotechnology community, like many others, was not prepared for a Trump victory; we must be on high alert to ensure that one of this country’s premier enterprises will not be compromised. Scientists are not political activists by nature, and this has to change.”