Gov. Terry Branstad is set to announce today the formation of an organization designed to educate citizens about the importance of clinical research.

The Iowa Coalition of Clinical Researchers is made up of a number of groups and its goals include seeking more clinical trial opportunities for the state and providing materials to help patients decide whether to participate in clinical research.

Current partners include:

  • CompleWare
  • Covenant Cancer Treatment Center- Waterloo
  • Iowa Clinical Research Corporation
  • Iowa Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center (IDERC)
  • Iowa Heart Center
  • Iowa Oncology Research Association
  • Heartland Medical Research
  • The Iowa Clinic
  • Unity Point Health - Des Moines
  • University of Iowa - Institute for Clinical and Translational Science

The announcement coincides with the release of a report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of Americathat says biopharmaceutical research companies have conducted 1,287 clinical trials of new medicines in Iowa since 1999.

Of those trials, 676 have targeted the nation's six most debilitating chronic diseases of asthma/allergy, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental illnesses and stroke.

Other facts in the report:

  • In 2011, the biopharmaceutical research industry supported more than 14,000 jobs in the state, according to a Battelle Technology Partnership Practice study.
  • Those companies supported the generation of $3.4 billion in economic activity in Iowa two years ago.
  • The University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine ranked No. 28 out of the top 100 research-oriented medical schools in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • There are 141 clinical trials of potential new chronic disease treatments that are still active and recruiting patients in Iowa.

"Our state's investment in education and life sciences research and development has not only paid off economically; it has contributed to new treatments and improved health care for patients all over the world," Branstad said in a press release.