Washington, D.C. (November 28, 2001) - Carl B. Feldbaum, President of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), today announced management changes and department elevations to make BIO’s legislative and advocacy efforts more effective on Capitol Hill for its more than 1,000 member companies and organizations.
“Some of these changes come as a result of our industry’s rapid growth and increased public profile, and some come as a result of the events of September 11 and the threat of bioterrorism-all are designed to strengthen our voice to policy makers and meet our members’ needs,” Feldbaum stated.
Sharon Cohen, who has served as BIO’s Vice President for Health Policy, has been named new Vice President for Government Relations. Cohen replaces Lee Rawls, who has been asked to become Counselor to FBI Director Robert Mueller.
“In many respects, since September 11, BIO’s activities have become more inextricably involved with our nation’s security than ever before,” Feldbaum said. “Lee Rawls is a national asset, with a deep understanding of our nation’s law enforcement requirements, along with an appreciation for how biotechnology can contribute to national security. We will greatly miss his legislative expertise, but he is now needed even more as the FBI addresses the threat of bioterrorism.”
Rawls had served as Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs at the Department of Justice and worked closely with Mueller, who headed the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1990-92 during the Administration of George H.W. Bush. Rawls also had been Chief of Staff to Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) before coming to BIO.
“The FBI is facing a wide range of new challenges,” said Mueller. “Lee Rawls is an experienced colleague whose professionalism will be an asset to the Bureau as it faces these challenges.”
Before joining BIO, Cohen was Senior Vice President for Federal Government Affairs at the Health Insurance Association of America. She was also Director of Congressional Relations for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. She has more than 20 years of Capitol Hill experience. Cohen was recruited by BIO to form a health policy cluster, which will now be streamlined into a single Government Relations Department.
“Sharon Cohen’s experience in drug reimbursement and insurance issues, along with Medicare reform, is unrivaled in Washington,” Feldbaum stated. “Access to new therapies and cures must continue to be a top priority of any presidential Administration, and Sharon’s appointment will ensure that BIO plays a commanding role working with the Administration and Congress to ensure access to the latest, most effective medical innovations BIO’s members are developing.”
Status of Bioethics, Industrial/Environmental Divisions Upgraded
Feldbaum also announced that two BIO departments headed by Directors will now be led by Vice Presidents.
Michael Werner, who had been a Director of Federal Government Relations and Bioethics Counsel at BIO, will now be the organization’s first Vice President of Bioethics.
“The extraordinary medical benefits that are likely to come with further development of the Human Genome Project have also raised significant issues: cloning, stem cell research, medical and genetic privacy, to name just a few. As we sort out these issues and make societal choices, BIO should be an integral voice in these debates, whether they occur on Capitol Hill or on Main St. USA. Michael Werner, Esq., has the legal and legislative background and the personal sensitivity to reach out to many individuals and groups with diverse religious, social and political perspectives on science,” Feldbaum said.
Also promoted to Vice President was Brent Erickson, formerly Director for BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section. “Biotechnology has enormous potential to create ‘green’ manufacturing processes that can make a critical contribution to cleaning our environment and yield significant applications for national security. Companies in the Industrial and Environmental Section are developing enzymes that can transform conventional manufacturing processes to make them less polluting. In addition, enzymes are under development that can be sprayed over troops and fields to decontaminate them after an exposure to anthrax and other pathogens. Brent’s role will be to ensure that these highly significant advances are understood by the Administration and on Capitol Hill,” Feldbaum added.
Erickson also was recently elected Vice Chair of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Task Force on Sustainable Development.
BIO Appoints New Meetings Department COO
Feldbaum also announced that Cynthia Beckman, currently Director of Marketing Communications Worldwide for Intergen Company in Purchase, N.Y., will become Chief Operating Officer for the BIO Meetings Department. She will be replacing Carey Lackman, who has accepted the position of Chief of Staff to Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA).
“I am sorry to lose Carey, but I held the same position with Senator Specter before joining BIO in 1993, so I know this will be a remarkable and worthwhile experience for her. She has done a superb job for BIO, and I expect she will do the same for Senator Specter. We remain on the same team,” said Feldbaum.
“BIO’s annual international meeting has become the global convention for our international community. Cynthia Beckman brings much experience in marketing, trade shows and customer development to this position. She formerly served as co-chair of BIO’s host committee for our 1998 convention in New York City, a breakthrough success. I am confident Cynthia Beckman will build our members’ networking capability and the BIO meeting franchise as our industry continues to grow geometrically,” Feldbaum concluded.
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.
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