Good Day BIO: BIO's message for Angela Merkel

July 15, 2021
Ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Washington, BIO sent a letter to her government about how we can collaborate on global vaccine access—we have the scoop. Plus, LanzaTech has a new partnership to produce clothing from carbon. (1,000 words, 5 minutes)
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Ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Washington, BIO sent a letter to her government about how we can collaborate on global vaccine access—we have the scoop. Plus, LanzaTech has a new partnership to produce clothing from carbon. (1,000 words, 5 minutes)

 

BIO's message for Angela Merkel

 
 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting President Biden today to discuss how to strengthen the transatlantic relationship, including how to respond to COVID-19, reports The New York Times. Ahead of her visit, BIO sent her a letter providing an update on the U.S. biotech industry’s progress and thanking her for her support of IP protections.

BIO hopes the conversation between the U.S. and Germany will cover global vaccine access, we write in a letter to Germany’s Ambassador to the U.S. Emily Haber.

“Our goal now is to work with governments, multilateral organizations, and donors to get COVID vaccines safely in the arms of as many of the world’s people as soon as possible,” writes BIO President & CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath.  

The industry has made “extraordinary efforts to achieve this goal,” including:

  • Concluding 280+ global partnership agreements to share technology and know-how around the world, including in developing countries.
  • Scaling up manufacturing to produce nearly 11 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021.
  • Identifying additional manufacturing partners for vaccines and vital inputs.

“These facts and efforts confirm a point that we believe Chancellor Merkel and your government well understand: that intellectual property rights have not been, and will not be, a barrier to the development and distribution of COVID vaccines globally.”  

Read: The world’s biotech sector unites to oppose IP waiver 

“Germany has played an important balancing role in WTO discussions on the matter,” concludes Dr. McMurry-Heath. “We urge the German Government to not jeopardize the progress we are making by acceding to unsupported and coercive demands to abolish IP rights and to indiscriminately relinquish the newest manufacturing technology.”  

Joe’s World: Chancellor Merkel has been leading the world in finding effective, pragmatic solutions to the problem of global vaccine access. BIO thinks it important to recognize her leadership during this visit to Washington, and to encourage our government to join her in her efforts. – Joe Damond, BIO’s Deputy Chief of Policy and EVP of International Affairs

Listen: Why we can and must share vaccines with the globe

 

More Health Care News:

Bloomberg: Moderna’s next act is using mRNA vs. flu, Zika, HIV, and cancer
“[F]or Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel, the Covid vaccine is just the beginning. He’s long promised that if mRNA works, it will lead to a giant new industry capable of treating most everything from heart disease to cancer to rare genetic conditions.”

 
 
 
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With help from biotech, this fashion brand cleans up

 
 

LanzaTech is working every day to make your life more sustainable—from your household cleaners and perfume to, now, your yoga pants. 

Wait, LanzaTech? Yes! The BIO member company uses its carbon recycling technology to produce products ranging from common household items to sustainable aviation fuel

Now, LanzaTech has partnered with athletic apparel company lululemon athletica inc. to make the world’s first yarn and fabric using recycled carbon emissions, according to the announcement

How it works: LanzaTech sources carbon from different types of feedstocks—from industrial emissions to agricultural or household waste. Microorganisms then ferment the gas into ethanol, which is converted to polyester.  

“The process is like traditional fermentation, except instead of sugars and yeast, it uses the carbon contained in waste gases and the microorganisms,” says the announcement.

What they’re saying: “We must radically change how we source, utilize, and dispose of carbon. Carbon recycling enables companies like lululemon to continue to move away from virgin fossil resources, bring circularity to their products, and achieve their climate change goals around carbon reduction. We call this being ‘CarbonSmart,’” said LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren. 

Listen: LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren recently joined the I am BIO Podcast to discuss how they’re turning carbon into beauty products. Listen to her and other experts discuss the future of biotech fashion.

 

More Agriculture and Environment News: 

The New York Times: Europe unveils plan to shift from fossil fuels, setting up potential trade spats
“The proposal would impose tariffs on some imports from countries with looser environmental rules. It would also mean the end of sales in the European Union of new gas- and diesel-powered cars in just 14 years.”

Reuters: EU targets airlines in major climate policy shakeup
"A separate proposal would force suppliers to blend a minimum of 2% of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into their kerosene from 2025, rising to 5% in 2030 and 63% in 2050."

 
 
 
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Rare Disease Week 2021
 
 

It’s Rare Disease Week (July 14-22)—and the EveryLife Foundation is hosting a virtual fly-in to bring together members of the rare disease community to discuss federal policy and share their stories with legislators.  

Next Thursday, July 22, the week will conclude with a Diversity Roundtable (2-3:30 PM ET), a series of discussions for patient advocates, industry leaders, and community stakeholders to participate in inclusive conversations about the barriers to care for underserved rare disease communities and the policy solutions that can make a difference. Get the details. 

Did you know? The economic cost of 379 rare diseases reached nearly $1 trillion in the U.S. in 2019—learn more at the EveryLife Foundation’s National Economic Burden of Rare Disease Study.

 
 
 
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BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
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President Biden’s Thursday: Busy day. He will join Vice President Kamala Harris in delivering remarks on the Child Tax Credit rollout at 11:45 AM ET, then Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will join a press briefing at 12:30 PM ET. This afternoon, he’ll host German Chancellor Angela Merkel for meetings, which will be followed by a joint press conference at 4:15 PM ET. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: House Appropriations will mark up the FY22 funding bills for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education, which includes bills BIO supports. In other news, CNN reports there’s “no indication the White House will name a permanent [FDA] commissioner anytime soon.”

ICYMI yesterday...The House Science Committee held a hearing, Principles for Outbreak Investigation: COVID-19 and Future Infectious Diseases. With several infectious disease experts (though no public health officials) as witnesses, the hearing struck a largely bipartisan tone with both sides of the aisle raising concerns over public trust in science, ensuring transparency while investigating the origins of COVID-19, and lab safety. Republicans focused questioning on the Wuhan lab leak theory and the initial reaction it received from the media, politicians, and social media companies, as well as the difficulty of conducting a thorough investigation without cooperation from China. Democrats also stressed the importance of investigating the outbreak, but spoke more broadly on the likely origin and the need for transparency. Other topics touched on included vaccine hesitancy, gene editing, the Delta variant, and future pandemic preparedness. 

 
 
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