James Thomas

Nobel Conference 56

James Thomas

James Thomas is the Executive Vice President, Global Head of Biotherapeutics, President of U.S. Operations, Just-Evotec Biologics, an integrated design company focused on technologies that will accelerate development of biotherapeutics and substantially reduce their manufacturing cost.

Advances in the treatment of cancer have in part been made possible through the development of biologics, a class of pharmaceuticals derived or modified from living systems in order to influence the mechanics of our bodies therapeutically. While traditional cancer drugs are comprised of small molecules, biologics are proteins, peptides, or vaccines. Additionally, while traditional drugs are manufactured through direct chemical means, biologics rely on genetically engineered microorganisms to produce the drug as a byproduct of metabolism. These new therapies have been changing the landscape of the pharmaceutical market, and represent the cutting edge for future drug development.

The development of a drug takes around 10 years and costs around 2.6 billion dollars. Less than 12 percent of drugs are approved after clinical testing. Companies developing new drugs find themselves needing to recover the costs of developing not only successful drugs, but also those that never make it to market. Biologics require more expensive characterization methods and have much larger production costs than small molecule drugs. Those relying on these critical treatments thus face vastly larger bills for their treatment. 

Jim Thomas is one of the leading experts on the topic of access to medicine on the global scale. His work has contributed to the creation of many biologics, including treatments for arthritis, high cholesterol, and colorectal cancer. He is a cofounder of Just Biotherapeutics, a company focused on making cutting edge biologic drugs accessible to global communities by reducing costs to patients. Presently, he is Executive Vice President, Global Head of Biotherapeutics and President of US Operations at Just - Evotec Biologics