Biden’s executive order to fund US bioindustry

President Joe Biden on Monday will sign executive orders to pour more government money into the US biotechnology industry to reduce dependence on China for materials used to generate clean energy, weave new fabrics and vaccinate the population against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The executive order allows the federal government to direct funding for the use of microbes and other biologically derived resources to produce new foods, fertilizers and seeds and make mining operations more efficient, administration officials said.

They gave no details of how much money would be available, where it would come from, or how it would be distributed. More details are expected at a White House summit on the matter on Wednesday.

The US federal government is already a source of funding for biotechnology research and development (R&D) through the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Agriculture and other agencies. Total US funding for research and development has fallen as a percentage of gross domestic product since a peak in the 1950s, a trend Biden wants to reverse.

Potential applications range from Renewable Energy Group’s biodiesel fuels to Pfizer-BioNTech’s (PFE.N), (22UAy.DE) COVID vaccines or Corteva Inc’s (CTVA.N) genetically modified seeds.

“Other countries, including and especially China, are aggressively investing in this sector, which poses risks to US leadership and competitiveness,” said a government official, who declined to be named, previewing Biden’s actions.

Biden will discuss the order in Boston Monday while discussing the “cancer moonshot,” an effort to advance research, develop new treatments and reduce death rates from the disease.

Biomanufacturing has been used to develop cancer treatments, including those derived from plants or using engineered immune cells.

Biden will also become Dr. Appoint Renee Wegrzyn, a longtime science advisor who most recently worked at biotech company Ginkgo Bioworks Holdings Inc (DNA.N) as the first director of the US government-led Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health Biomedical Research Group.

“Today we have many of the building blocks needed to make meaningful advances in cancer care, but we must come together to deliver on the promise,” said another administrator.

Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46, which the president said helps underscore his passion for the project. Biden’s executive order to fund US bioindustry


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