Report: More than half of Iowa's clinical trials in Iowa City

595 clinical trials have been conducted or are underway in Iowa City

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CORALVILLE -- Of the more than 1,100 pharmaceutical clinical trials conducted in Iowa since 1999, more than half of them have been conducted or are still underway at research institutions in Iowa City, according to a new report.

Since 1999, 595 clinical trials have been conducted or are underway at research institutions in Iowa City, and another 68 clinical trials have taken place or are underway at institutions in Cedar Rapids, according to the report "Research in Your Backyard: Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials in Iowa." The study was released Monday by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) group during a stop in Coralville. The group is releasing state-by-state reports about clinical trials.

The study shows how such clinical trials benefit patients and boost the state's economy, said Jeff Trewhitt, senior director of communications and public affairs for PhRMA. Most biopharmaceutical companies don't have a bricks and mortar presence in Iowa, Trewhitt said, but still have a strong impact through such clinical trials, which they generally hire local research institutions to conduct.

"And that for these local institutions has meant a steady source of revenue, it has meant the generation of jobs," he said.

In a 2008 study, employees working directly for the companies in Iowa were paid $146.8 million, leading to more than $30 million in federal taxation and nearly $7 million in state taxation, according to the report. And biopharmaceutical research firms in 2008 invested $40.7 million in research and development in Iowa clinical trials, the report says, and supported more than 23,000 jobs in the state.

Iowa City attracts many of the clinical trials in the state, via the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

More than half of the clinical trials conducted in Iowa target six of the most debilitating chronic diseases: asthma, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and mental illnesses, according to the report.

It's also important to note that currently, 70 active clinical trials in Iowa City seek participants, and an additional eight active clinical trials in Cedar Rapids need participants, Trewhitt said.

"What's significant about that is the fact that we know there are some chronic disease  sufferers who are still seeking effective treatments," he said. "For some of those patients, a clinical trial of a new drug could be a good therapeutic option to explore and discuss with their doctors."


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