Chinese biotech competition boosts Biden’s executive order
“The United States truly has the best biotech innovators in the world, but we risk falling behind” unless the government helps ensure the sector’s growth with targeted investments, including training programs for workers qualified, the official said.
Biden is expected to discuss the executive order during a trip to Boston on Monday where he is to outline efforts to fight cancer, which is a special personal interest of the president.
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Biden’s son Beau, the former Delaware attorney general, died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46 and Biden has championed a ‘cancer moonshot’ agenda since he was vice president of Barack Obama. Biden is scheduled to deliver his remarks at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The an event is timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of a 1962 Kennedy speech that touched on his goal of putting a man on the moon.
The White House did not disclose funding levels for the new push on Sunday, saying a dollar amount would be part of announcements later in the week. Biden is due to hold a summit on Wednesday with industry representatives.
A biotechnology initiative was included in a broader science and technology bill that included $52 billion to subsidize manufacturing of semiconductor chips in the United States, which Biden signed into law in August. The United States has fallen far behind in chip manufacturing, and the domestic industry has been hampered by shortages. The US auto industry suffers from a shortage of cars to sell, for example, due to a lack of computer chips.
Experts who closely follow China’s biotech manufacturing goals say concerted government support is needed to avoid a similar situation with advanced medical and biotech manufacturing. The initiative isn’t just about boosting drug research and development, which is already heavily funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.
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White House officials said it would also target efforts in the supply of food for agriculture as well as things like biomass fuels.
A July report by the Center for a New American Security, a left-leaning pro-defense think tank, warned of the dangers of falling behind China in biotechnology.
China already dominates the global production of active pharmaceutical ingredients for generic drugs. Western countries continue to lead in biotechnology, but the United States must “focus on improving access to the equipment at the heart of the bio-revolution: the computational and data sources used in genomics, and the hardware infrastructure used in DNA synthesis and fermentation,” CNAS said. says the report.