Biden Spurs U.S. Biotechnology with New Order

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In a surprise executive order, President Biden directed more federal resources to go toward establishing a competitive U.S. biomanufacturing sector to support independence in key input ingredients.

The Biden administration announced the launch of a new national program dedicated to fortifying America’s biotechnology manufacturing industry in the latest executive effort to keep U.S. supply chains competitive. 

Introduced Sunday via executive order, the Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative focuses on a specific biomanufacturing process that uses microorganisms to create chemicals and compounds that contribute to make medicines, fuels and other input materials.

The initiative is part of President Biden’s broader agenda to reduce U.S. dependence on overseas goods, particularly regarding China and its dominance in many manufacturing sectors. 

“The global industry is on the cusp of a revolution powered by biotechnology,” a senior administration official told reporters on Sunday. “This allows the US to leverage innovation, this innovation, to strengthen our economy and society.”

Chief among the initiative’s provisions is jumpstarting domestic manufacturing for bio-based materials. Administration officials confirmed that helping U.S.-based biotech companies source their manufacturing capabilities at home is the first step to strengthening the nation’s bioeconomy.

In turn, more domestic manufacturing is expected to lead to more resilient supply chains and affordable products. One example administration officials offered revolved around pharmaceuticals: if more of the key input ingredients were manufactured in the U.S., this can help reduce prescription and other medicine costs.

Other pillars of the initiative will work toward advancing biomanufacturing research and development, expanding procurement options for bio-based goods in the new BioPreferred Program and revamping the U.S.’s infrastructure to support biomanufacturing business opportunities and investment. 

This directive complements the recently passed CHIPS and Science Act which works to strengthen American production of semiconductors, also in an effort to reduce foreign dependence on critical technologies.

“I think the United States really has the best biotechnology innovators in the world, we really do need in this area, but we risk falling behind as we did in the semiconductor sector and in the event telecommunications center unless we translate biotechnology innovation into economic and societal benefits for all Americans,” a senior administration official commented. 

Ensuring U.S.-made biotechnologies and manufacturing processes are protected is also an important feature of the initiative. Biden administration officials confirmed that instilling cybersecurity measures to protect biological data and advancing standard development for the industry are also goals within national biomanufacturing. 

Biden will appear in Boston later this week to discuss federally-led biotechnology research and development efforts following his executive order.