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National Bioeconomy Blueprint

April 26, 2012
Today, the White House released its National Bioeconomy Blueprint.  The Blueprint defines the bioeconomy as, “economic activity that is fueled by research and innovation in the biological sciences” and identifies the bioeconomy as a priority for the Obama Administration. BIO provided input and submitted ideas to the Administration after it announced the development of the Blueprint last Fall. While the Administration has largely been focused on advancing innovation in areas such as electronic devices, social media and solar energy, we’ve been ringing the bell saying, ‘Don’t forget us.’  The blueprint is a sign that the message has been received.

The Blueprint notes the tremendous potential of the bioeconomy for fostering economic growth as well as for providing critical societal benefits: “It can allow Americans to live longer, healthier lives, reduce our dependence on oil, address key environmental challenges, transform manu­facturing processes, and increase the productivity and scope of the agricultural sector while growing new jobs and industries.” Well said, indeed.

The report also notes that a growing U.S. population requires, “increased health services and more resources such as food, animal feed, fiber for clothing and housing, and sources of energy and chemicals for manufacturing. In short, it needs a new and more potent bioeconomy fueled by innovative ideas and practices that can help address these needs in new, more powerful ways.”

We appreciate the President’s recognition of the need to clear the path for American innovation and ingenuity and unleash the tremendous promise of biotechnology to help solve many of the biggest challenges facing our nation today and foster economic growth throughout the United States.

Already, biotechnology is enabling patients living with debilitating diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Parkinson’s - and all American families - to have a higher quality of life, in a healthy and safe environment. As the new report notes, ‘The U.S. bioeconomy is all around us: new drugs and diagnostics for improved human health, higher-yielding food crops, advanced biofuels to reduce dependency on oil, and biobased chemical intermediates.’

The report’s high-level goals are consistent with many of BIO’s primary goals, including supporting translational research, reducing regulatory barriers for biotech products and emerging technologies, improving coordination across federal agencies, reforming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and expanding the bioeconomy workforce.

We look forward to hearing more about specific proposals for accomplishing these goals. And we will challenge the Administration when its policies are inconsistent with this Blueprint.

What do you think about the Blueprint? What is missing that will help drive continued biotech innovation?