Action to improve U.S. R&D policy

March 18, 2021
A busy Thursday with a look at U.S. R&D policy, U.K. gene editing policy, and confirmations and hearings to watch in Congress. (1,000 words, 5 minutes)

A busy Thursday with a look at U.S. R&D policy, U.K. gene editing policy, and confirmations and hearings to watch in Congress. (1,000 words, 5 minutes)


Action to improve U.S. R&D policy


Strengthening R&D policy is a key component of BIO’s tax advocacy. We’ve got the details on promising activity on Capitol Hill—and how you can help improve the R&D credit for small businesses.

Beginning in 2022, U.S. businesses may be forced to amortize their R&D expenses over several years, rather than immediately deducting them as they currently can. The U.S. would stand out as one of only two developed countries with such a policy.

On Tuesday, Sens. Todd Young (R-IN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Ben Sasse (R-NE) introduced the bipartisan American Innovation and Jobs Act to reverse this policy and allow U.S. businesses to continue to immediately deduct their R&D expenses.

If enacted,the bill would also:

  • Double the refundable R&D tax credit
  • Expand eligibility to more businesses 

This follows similar legislation introduced in February (American Innovation and R&D Competitiveness Act), by Reps. John B. Larson (D-CT), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Ron Estes (R-KS), Darin LaHood (R-IL), and Jodey Arrington (R-TX). 

BIO's take: BIO is pleased to see progress on this important issue and will continue to advocate with its allies for swift passage of this bipartisan, bicameral legislation. Policies that seek to expand U.S. R&D are critical in supporting the biotech industry as we work to solve society’s most pressing challenges. – Cameron Arterton, BIO’s VP of Emerging Companies and Capital Formation

Make the R&D credit work better for pre-revenue biotechs! 
There’s still time to take this important survey on the payroll R&D credit—but it closes tomorrow! 

Established five years ago, the payroll tax R&D creditallows small companies investing in R&D to take part or all of their R&D credit against their payroll tax liability—a recognition from Congress that income tax credits provide no immediate benefit to pre-revenue biotechs.

But many small biotechs can’t take advantage of the credit due to restrictive eligibility requirements. 

BIO has long advocated for improvements to the credit, including expanding access to and increasing the amount of the credit. 

BIO has partnered with EY on a study to analyze credit utilization among small companies—click here to take the survey. The survey closes tomorrow, March 19, 2021.

Your participation will be instrumental in supporting our advocacy moving forward. Any information provided will only be viewed by EY and only reported in aggregate. 


BIO encourages new rules for gene editing technology in the U.K.


BIO voiced support for new U.K. regulations for gene editing technologies in a letter to the U.K. Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) yesterday.

No longer constrained by European Union regulations, the post-Brexit U.K. government announced in January they will consider the potential benefits of technologies like CRISPR, a move supported by many in the scientific community.

“Genome editing has the potential to unlock substantial benefits to our planet, our health, and our food system, such as disease resistant animals, crops that require less water and nutrients and food that is more nutritious. Regarding regulation of genome editing in agriculture, BIO encourages the U.K. to consider the approaches of other governments within the Americas, Australia and Japan,” BIO’s letter says.

The EU’s GM regulations are not appropriate to new technologies. “Many researchers say that most current applications of gene editing using CRISPR produce the kinds of change that could have been achieved by conventional breeding, just much more efficiently,” a Nature editorial argues. BIO maintains that “in such cases, the regulatory approach should be no more burdensome than required for products produced through conventional breeding methods.”

“BIO urges the U.K. to join with key trading partners to chart a path forward where science and technology can be fully leveraged to confront climate change and enable the sustainable production of food globally,” BIO concludes. “BIO and its members are eager to be a resource to help the U.K. government advance its innovation and sustainability goals.”


More Agriculture and Environment News: 

Bloomberg Green: New EPA chief Michael Regan vows assault on environmental injustice
“Every person in the United States has the right to clean air, clean water, and a healthier life no matter how much money they have in their pockets, the color of their skin or their zip code,” Regan said in an address to a conference of state regulators.

Bloomberg Law: Interstate rule is one fix in thicket of upwind pollution woes
“The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule update, released Monday, is the Environmental Protection Agency’s first environmental rulemaking under President Joe Biden.”

BIO Celebrates Women's History Month: Christi Shaw

Christi Shaw, CEO of Kite, Gilead’s cell therapy company, has two pieces of advice for her younger self:

  1. Never take caring out of the equation.
  2. Always compete with compassion. 

“As a leader, deeply caring for the people and the patients you serve will always be a competitive advantage—and aside from that, it’s simply the right thing to do,” she said.

At Kite, Shaw manages the cell therapy operations worldwide—and is pursuing a cure for cancer through the company’s industry-leading pipeline and manufacturing capabilities. Prior to joining Gilead, Shaw held senior executive positions at Eli Lilly and Novartis, leading work in several therapeutic efforts including oncology.

She founded the More Moments More Memories Foundation, which provides support for cancer patients to ensure they can receive needed treatments and make more memories with their families.

A member of the BIO Board of Directors, Shaw received her Bachelor's in business administration from Iowa State University and MBA from the University of Wisconsin.

BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
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President Biden’s Thursday: Receiving briefings on the economy and COVID-19, then delivering remarks on the state of coronavirus vaccinations in a briefing for the White House press pool at 3:15 p.m. ET. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Today, the Senate is expected to confirm Xavier Becerra, Biden’s nominee for Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other federal public health officials are set to appear before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to address the COVID-19 response, and the Senate Committee on Aging will examine COVID-19 health care needs for at-risk Americans. We’re also keeping an eye on the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion hearing on diversity data.

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