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Driving Innovation through Federal Investments

April 29, 2014
Today, BIO submitted testimony to the Senate Committee on Appropriations on the importance of driving innovation through federal investments. Below are highlights of our written testimony.

NIH:  A Driver of the Innovation Pipeline
We must continue to invest in scientific discovery.  NIH-supported biomedical research builds the foundation of scientific and clinical knowledge that is widely communicated and used to improve the treatment of patients and underpin the development of new diagnostics, treatments, vaccines, and cures.

Sustained commitment to investment in NIH drives the innovation pipeline that is critical to ensuring a robust medical research infrastructure and a thriving biopharmaceutical industry. We ask that Congress appropriate at least $32 billion for the NIH for FY 2015.

FDA: Critical to Turning Medical Discoveries into Benefits for Patients
We are asking for a total of $2.784 billion in Budget Authority for the FDA.  This funding would ensure that FDA programs and initiatives such as Advancing Regulatory Science, Oversight of Pharmacy Compounding, Supply Chain Traceability, and the Medical Countermeasures Initiative can keep pace with today’s science and better promote and protect public health.

Lastly, for FY 2015, we recommend an investment of an additional $100 million in FDA’s medical products programs, including a total of $528 million for the Human Drugs Program and the $231 million for the Biologics Program.In addition, we support legislation that would prevent user fees from being sequestered in future years, as this would threaten the FDA’s ability to ensure patients get new treatments and cures at the earliest possible time.

BARDA, SRF, Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: Protecting the American Public
Federal investments in the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) have driven innovation in the field of biodefense over the past decade.  Since Congress established the Project BioShield Special Reserve Fund (SRF) as a guaranteed market incentive, approximately 50 companies have engaged in the development of novel vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to address naturally occurring and man-made threats to our nation’s public health and security.

We are asking $415 million for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), $636 million for the SRF, and $300 million for pandemic influenza preparedness activities in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in FY 2015.

Securing our Energy and Manufacturing Future while Protecting the Environment

USDA Energy Title Programs: Paving the Road to Commercialization
Title IX of the Agriculture Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79, signed into law on February 7, 2014) reauthorizes and provides mandatory funding for a suite of programs vital to helping the next generation of renewable fuels and chemicals to market. BIO urges the committee to provide the full mandatory and discretionary funding for the Biorefinery Assistance Program, Biomass Crop Assistance Program, Biobased Markets Program, and Biomass Research and Development Program, each of which contributes substantially to rural economic prosperity by growing a 21st Century bio-based economy.  BIO also urges the Committee to support the Administration’s commitment to advanced biofuel use in the U.S. military as established in the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding signed by USDA, DOE, and the Navy.

DOE: Supporting Ongoing Innovation and Technology Demonstration
Department of Energy programs in research, development, demonstration and deployment of industrial biotechnology are working to drive new innovation and attract private investment in this important sector.  BIO requests the Committee support the Administration’s proposed funding levels for the Bioenergy Technologies Office, Advanced Manufacturing Office, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), and the Biological and Environmental Research Programs and Basic Energy Science programs of the Office of Science.

EPA: Adequate Resources Needed to Review New Fuel Pathways
The Environmental Protection Agency is the key federal agency regulating the biofuels industry. As the industry has grown exponentially since the enactment of the enhanced Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, implementation of the program has been increasingly strained by the burden of annual rulemaking, legal challenges, and approval of a growing list of fuel pathways applications.  We request that EPA be provided sufficient funding to quickly review the growing backlog of new fuel pathways.

USDA: Turning Public Investment into Food Productivity
By 2050, the global food supply needs to double in order to feed more than nine billion people worldwide.  Agriculture innovation and, in particular, agricultural biotechnology will be necessary to increase food productivity in order to meet global population growth projections.

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) recommends a rate of three percent of GDP to be spent on R&D, but currently the U.S. only spends 1.9 percent. We request increases in funding to research at USDA, which is needed to spur private sector funding and provide the needed increases in productivity to feed a growing population.

With more than 4,286 innovative research and discovery projects in the pipeline, the biotechnology industry can facilitate job growth, provide the next generation of medicines that will improve the lives of patients and their families, and create new solutions to the public’s health care needs.  In order to prepare for population growth, farmers will need the tools that biotechnology can provide to keep up with food demands. With continued strong investment in industrial biotechnology, the U.S. can also build on its global leadership position and ensure continued job growth, environmental protection, and energy security from the development of next generation renewable fuels and chemicals.

Driving innovation through federal investments can play a vital role in solving the most pressing challenges facing our society.

BIO’s testimony to the Senate Committee can be accessed here.