Washington, D.C. (May 30, 2002) -Biotechnology Industry Organization President Carl B. Feldbaum and NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to expand cooperation between NASA and the biotechnology industry.
“NASA currently supports cutting-edge basic and commercial biotechnology research and development. We recognize the importance of biotechnology as an expanding industry with increasing significance for health care, agriculture, economics and space exploration,” said O’Keefe. “This partnership helps NASA further the commercial use of space.”
Citing NASA’s participation at BIO conferences and meetings, Feldbaum said, “This agreement underscores the existing convergence of space technology and biotechnology. We’ve already seen biotech research underway in space. This agreement will promote investment by the biotechnology industry in commercial space development for the benefit of patients, consumers and our economy.”
The memorandum builds on an already strong partnership by establishing three goals of collaboration: enhanced communication between NASA and industry; expanded commercial biotechnology space research and development; and formal and informal education of industry and the public regarding biotechnology and space research.
Biotechnology research already plays an important role in space. The launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station (ISS) will transport a biotechnology company’s experiments that compare human liver-cell function in space with that on Earth. This research could aid in the development of treatments for people in need of liver transplants.
NASA will utilize space as a laboratory to test the fundamental principles of chemistry and biology, and BIO will provide the industry support needed to maximize both the research and potential commercial opportunities.
BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
Additional information on NASA commercialization activities and BIO can be found at commercial.hq.nasa.gov, spaceresearch.nasa.gov, and www.bio.org.
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