BIO Deutschland Presents an Ethics Paper at its General Assembly
On 4 October 2010, BIO Deutschland presented a paper on principles regarding ethics and legislation during its annual general assembly. The paper was produced by the association’s Working Group on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Jobs.
“The work of Germany’s biotech companies applies scientific discoveries in products and services that contribute to the creation of long-term sustainable solutions to the problems facing mankind and the world,” said Peter Heinrich, Chairman of the Board of BIO Deutschland.
Karsten Henco, Chairman of BIO Deutschland’s Working Group on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Jobs, added that biotechnology should help to safeguard mankind’s livelihood; to identify, relieve and cure diseases; to improve nutrition, and to make use of renewable raw materials. He stressed that this also involved recognising threats, particularly those of a biological nature, promptly and tackling them. Henco also said that the work of biotech companies should be in the spirit of the freedom of science and research laid down in the German constitution.
“This freedom is a prerequisite for discoveries founded on science, as well as for scientific success and innovation. Restricting the research that requires a scientific basis is not accepted by German biotechnology companies,” Viola Bronsema, Managing Director of BIO Deutschland, added. She pointed out that restrictions limit innovation, encourage monopolies outside Germany, and prevent value-added in and for the country, which in turn leads to disadvantages for Germany as an economic location and poses a threat to jobs.
During the general assembly, the board and management of BIO Deutschland presented a comprehensive report on its activities. It was reported that BIO Deutschland had largely met – and in part even surpassed – the objectives set in 2008. Since the last general assembly one year ago, the association has grown by 38 new members to over 260 members.
In addition, the participants were also interested in the reports on the activities of the nine working groups, which deal with the topics of diagnostics; finance and taxation; innovations, entrepreneurship and jobs; health policy; licences and technical contracts; and competition and regulatory policy. The deputy spokesperson of the Working Group of the BioRegions, Thomas Diefenthal, also gave a presentation about the main activities of this committee, which is convened under the auspices of BIO Deutschland.
Following the general assembly, BIO Deutschland members were invited to the Biotechnica opening ceremony and the reception afterwards. During his speech as one of the speakers at the opening ceremony and in his role as chairman of the board of BIO Deutschland and representative of the innovative small and medium-sized enterprises, Peter Heinrich underlined the importance of the biotechnology industry for a sustainable transformation of the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors.
During the opening ceremony, the European Biotechnica Award, the most valuable prize of its kind, which is co-sponsored by BIO Deutschland, was awarded to the Belgian company Galapagos.
For the first time this year, BIO Deutschland took part in a joint information stand on the topic of “Biotechnology – Sustainability, Entrepreneurship, Progress” along with the DBU (German Federal Environmental Foundation), ChemBioTec and the three Biotechnica Award finalists. The stand served as an information point for delegations, including groups from India, Russia and Latin America, as well as for groups of school pupils and students, representatives of the media, politics and administration, and the general public. The focus of the stand was on the contribution made by biotechnology to researching and developing medications with fewer side effects, cleaner CO2–reduced production processes, optimised agricultural products, and healthier foodstuffs. However, the image of innovative biotech companies and its importance for the creation of sustainable, highly qualified jobs, as well as their role in safeguarding competitive economic power, was also conveyed at the stand.
The ethics paper can be downloaded at http://www.biodeutschland.org/positionspapiere.html