The right to vote is fundamental — a letter from biotechnology industry leaders
Biotech Voices is a collection of exclusive opinion editorials from some of the leading voices in biopharma on the biggest industry questions today. Think you have a voice that should be heard? Reach out to senior editors Kyle Blankenship and Amber Tong.
We oppose all attempts to introduce laws that reduce the rights of US citizens to vote or that restrict them from exercising that right. The right to vote is fundamental to democracy. States that have enacted, or are proposing to enact, legislation to restrict voting are undermining our democracy and posing a threat to our nation. As leaders of the life sciences industry, we stand for what we believe is right for our country, our enterprises, our employees and those who benefit from our work. We join the first groups of business leaders who have challenged these laws and will continue to make our collective voices heard on this matter.
In some cases, instigators of such laws may be sincere in believing they are “ensuring integrity of the voting process.” Such beliefs are based on the contention that the 2020 election was “fraudulent.” The US courts, the Department of Justice, various state government offices and independent investigations all have debunked this myth. In other cases, proponents of such laws coordinate efforts and deliberately seek to disenfranchise and discriminate against particular voters.
Throughout its history, America has been called on repeatedly to renew and advance its commitment to its founding ideals. Core among these is that all Americans are entitled to equal opportunity and to be treated equally under the law. There is nothing more inimical to these ideals than to undermine our right to vote in free and fair elections.
Americans have endured a terrible Civil War and have fought for generations to overcome the evils of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow. Today we are facing another important chapter in this fight. The current efforts in several states to change voting laws effectively marginalize and suppress particular classes of voters. Such outcomes further divide our society. They lead us backward, unraveling many of the hard-won victories — for which Americans fought, and often died — critical to our nation’s democracy and the freedom of future generations.
The biotechnology industry is driving a revolution to cure patients, protect our climate, and nourish humanity. Our industry impacts the lives of billions, employs and invests in every state in our nation, and leads the development of vaccines and medicines that will defeat the global Covid pandemic and many other diseases.
The US leads the world in biotechnology in large part because the science underpinning our industry thrives in a free society. People of talent are drawn to our industry regardless of their personal identifiers or nationality. They feel that they will indeed have equal opportunity to contribute and succeed. They believe they will be treated equally by the law and that efforts to contribute to the biotechnology revolution are fostered by the society we live in. When the 2 freedoms foundational to our society are abridged, we lose this advantage, and will cede the field and our innovations to competing countries.
As leaders in the biotechnology industry, and as individuals who care deeply about democracy, we call on all leaders in our industry to act as follows:
- When making new or additional capital investments, actively consider alternatives to investing within states that have enacted voter suppression laws.
- Encourage organizers to consider alternative venues for conferences and major meetings and respect the right of those who choose not to attend meetings in any State enacting voter suppression laws.
- Establish policies permitting half-day paid leave for all employees to vote.
- Encourage employees to participate in efforts to help register voters and physically assist those who are unable to easily vote themselves due to age, illness, disability or other impediment
We stand together for the rights of all Americans to vote freely and fairly. To do otherwise would be to accede to the hollowing out of our democracy which, as Lincoln observed, has made America the “last, best hope on earth.” The signatures below represent the views of individuals and not their companies or other organizations.
Jeremy Levin, DPhil, MB BChir, Chairman and CEO, Ovid Therapeutics
Paul Hastings, President and CEO, Nkarta Therapeutics
John Maraganore, CEO, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Ted W. Love, MD, President and CEO, Global Blood Therapeutics
Rachel K. King, CEO, GlycoMimetics
Ron Cohen, MD, President and CEO, Acorda Therapeutics
Srini Akkaraju, Founder & Managing Partner, Samsara Biocapital
Jeff Albers, CEO, Blueprint Medicines
Faraz Ali, CEO, Tenaya Therapeutics
Theodore (Ted) T. Ashburn, MD, PhD, President and CEO, Oncorus
Martin Babler, Former CEO, Principia
Jeremy Bender, CEO, Day One Pharmaceuticals
Nessan Bermingham, PhD Founder & CEO at Triplet Therapeutics, Founder and Exec Chair at Korro Bio, Chair at Fstar Therapeutics
Hans Bishop, CEO, Grail
Kevin Bitterman, Partner, Atlas Venture
Robert I. Blum, President and CEO, Cytokinetics, Inc.
Bruce Booth, Partner, Atlas Venture
Daniel M. Bradbury, Executive Chairman, Equillium
Pablo J. Cagnoni, MD, President and CEO, Rubius Therapeutics
Chip Clark, President and CEO, Genocea Biosciences
Scott Clarke, CEO, Ambagon Therapeutics
Tony Coles, MD, Chair and CEO, Cerevel Therapeutics
Roger Crystal, MD, President and CEO, Opiant Pharmaceuticals
Rahul Dhanda, President and CEO, Sherlock Biosciences
Doug Doerfler, President and CEO, MaxCyte
Dipal Doshi, CEO, Entrada Therapeutics
Eric Dube, CEO, Travere Therapeutics
Douglas Fambrough, CEO, Dicerna Pharmaceuticals
Corey Fishman, CEO, Iterum Therapeutics
Jean-François Formela, Partner, Atlas Venture
Jacqualyn A. Fouse, CEO, Agios Pharmaceuticals
Cedric Francois, CEO, Apellis Pharmaceuticals
Sean George, CEO, Invitae
Deb Geraghty, PhD, President and CEO, Anokion
Michael Gladstone, Partner, Atlas Venture
Sandra Glucksmann, PhD, President and CEO, Cedilla Therapeutics
Jeff Goater, Chairman of the Board, Surface Oncology
David Grayzel, MD, Partner, Atlas Venture
Barry Greene, CEO, Sage Therapeutics
Adam Gridley, CEO, Allay Therapeutics
David Hallal, Chairman and CEO, ElevateBio
Patrick Hines, MD/PhD, CEO, Functional Fluidics
Steven Holtzman, Chair, Board of Directors, Camp4
Alex Karnal, Co-Founder and CIO, Braidwell
Perry Karsen, former CEO, Celgene Cellular Therapeutics
Scott Koenig, MD, PhD, President and CEO, MacroGenics
Peter Kolchinsky, Managing Partner, RA Capital
Samarth Kulkarni, CEO, CRISPR Therapeutics
Donna LaVoie, CEO, LaVoieHealthScience
Pablo Legorreta, Founder and CEO, Royalty Pharma
Mark Levin, Partner, TRV
Will Lewis, Chair and CEO, Insmed
Gail Maderis, President and CEO, Antiva Biosciences
Tahir Mahmood, CEO and Founder, Applied Molecular Transport
Jeffrey D. Marrazzo, CEO, Spark Therapeutics
Alex Martin, CEO, Palladio Biosciences
Ken Mills, President and CEO, REGENXBIO
Kenneth I. Moch, Senior Advisor to the Chairman, Center for Global Health Innovation and the Global Health Crisis Coordination
Michael M. Morrissey, President and CEO, Exelixis
Amit Munshi, CEO, Arena Pharmaceuticals
William J. Newell, CEO, Sutro Biopharma
John Orwin, President and CEO, Atreca
Julia Owens, PhD, Executive Chairman, Millendo Therapeutics
Stelios Papadopoulos, PhD, Chairman of the Board at Biogen, Exelixis, Regulus Therapeutics
Anthony Quinn, MB, ChB, PhD, President and CEO, Aeglea BioTherapeutics
Bill Rastetter, Chairman at Neurocrine Biosciences, Fate Therapeutics, Daré Bioscience; San Diego Squared
Ronald C. Renaud, Jr., CEO, Translate Bio
Jason P. Rhodes, Partner, Atlas Venture
Martine A. Rothblatt, PhD, Chairperson and CEO, United Therapeutics Corporation
George Scangos, PhD, CEO, Vir Biotechnology
John A. Scarlett, MD, Chairman and CEO, Geron Corporation
Randall C. Schatzman, PhD, President and CEO, Bolt Therapeutics
Jim Scibetta, CEO, Maverick
Paul J. Sekhri, President and CEO, eGenesis
RA Session II, President, CEO, Founder, Taysha Gene Therapies
Laura Shawver, CEO, Silverback Therapeutics
Clay B. Siegall, PhD, President and CEO, Seagen
Nancy Simonian, MD, CEO, Syros Pharmaceuticals
Erika R. Smith, CEO, ReNetX Bio
Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, PhD, Chairman and CEO, Atea Pharmaceuticals
Robert Tepper, Partner, Third Rock Ventures
Arthur Tzianabos, PhD, President and CEO, Homology Medicines
Michel Vounatsos, CEO, Biogen
Rick E. Winningham, Chairman and CEO, Theravance Biopharma US
Michael Yang, President and CEO, ViaCyte
Bradford A. Zakes, President, CEO and Chairman Cerevast Medical
Want to sign your name to this letter? Reach out to managing editor Kyle Blankenship at email@example.com.