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Survey Reveals Bostonians Are Biotech-Savvy


But Two-Thirds of Boston Residents Unaware of Local World-Class Biotech Facility

A new survey reveals that Bostonians command a surprising general knowledge of biotechnology. The survey, conducted by Kelton Research for Abbott, a global healthcare company, also found that there is significant lack of awareness that one of the world’s leading biotechnology research facilities is located in Boston’s backyard.

Key Findings

Bostonians understand biotechnology’s importance but have more to learn about the topic:

* Close to two thirds of Bostonians (64 percent) could correctly define biotechnology as the “use of biology and technology”
* More than three quarters of Bostonians (77 percent) grasp that the field of medicine has been revolutionized by the application of biotechnology
* Ninety percent of Bostonians agree that biotechnology is responsible for developing better medicines
* But Bostonians greatly overestimate the amount of time it takes to produce biologic medicines. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) think that it takes more than a year to produce/manufacture these medicines. While the research and development process for any medicine, including biologics, can take up to 10 years, it generally takes about six weeks to produce/manufacture many types of biologic medicines. Less than one percent of Bostonians answered this question correctly.

Boston residents are unaware of local contributions to biotechnology.

* Two-thirds (66 percent) of Bostonians did not know that one of the world’s premier biotechnology research facilities is based in Worcester. Worcester is home to Abbott’s Bioresearch Center.
* Nearly four in 10 Bostonians (38 percent) were surprised to learn that a biotech research and manufacturing facility is in their backyard.

“People appreciate biotechnology’s contribution and what it can do for them, but they assume it’s being discovered and produced somewhere else,” said Peter Isakson, Ph.D. and divisional vice president, Immunology Research at Abbott’s Worcester-based Bioresearch Center. “Groundbreaking discoveries that address rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis happen right here in Worcester,”

Boston believes biotech improves quality of life:

* Nearly all Bostonians (94 percent) think that biotechnology research in the greater Boston area will lead to new medical options
* Some Bostonians would take drastic steps to alleviate chronic pain associated with diseases that biologic medicines may help treat – 15 percent reported they would never take another raise, give up five years of their life or never retire. Fourteen percent would work Saturdays for the rest of their life; and nine percent would never take another vacation.
* Bostonians agreed that certain types of chronic pain would make it difficult to live a normal life, including headaches (40 percent), joint pain (29 percent), and bowel pain (19 percent)

“Abbott is committed to novel treatments for serious conditions,“ said John Leonard, M.D., vice president, Global Research and Development, Abbott, and BIO Board Member. “Our scientists are at the forefront of research and discovery in inflammatory diseases, oncology and neuroscience, researching and manufacturing biologic medicines that address unmet medical needs for people around the world.”


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