Maryland has hosted 1,775 clinical trials for new medicines targeting six major chronic diseases since 1999, including 369 that are still in the early stages of recruiting patients, according to a study by two pharmaceutical industry groups released Friday.
The report assessed the economic impact of clinical trials in the state, noting that the industry helped support 81,000 jobs, total employee salaries of $1.9 billion and $71 million in Maryland taxes as of 2008.
More than half of the continuing clinical trials in the state are occurring in Baltimore, at the University of Maryland Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University, the report found.
The major chronic diseases include asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental illnesses and stroke. The total number of clinical trials held in Maryland since 1999 is nearly 3,500, the report found.
The report — titled "Research in your backyard: Developing cures, creating jobs" — was released at a forum at the University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore featuring a panel discussion involving Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, and West Virginia Gov. Ray Tomblin.
The report was prepared by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an industry trade group representing major drug companies, and the Maryland chapter of the We Work For Health group, a health care industry advocacy group.
In their remarks, the governors emphasized the importance of investing in education and a skilled workforce to attract pharmaceutical companies to their states.
"Progress is a choice," O'Malley said. "Job creation is a choice."
Dr. Edward Bradley, a vice president at MedImmune, a Gaithersburg biopharmaceutical company, said in later phases of clinical trials, companies must focus on conducting tests on thousands of patients wherever they may live. But in the early clinical trial phase, a drug company is focused on working with expert scientists and a smaller group of patients — and "a trial starts tends to be where its home base is," he said.
Hopkins was a "good example" of an institution that attracts Phase I clinical trials because of its scientific and medical expertise, Bradley said.