Good Day BIO: SBIR/STTR passes Senate, fungus concerns grow, and more
September 21, 2022
Tons of news: SBIR/STTR bill passed the Senate and goes to the House (thanks in part to BIO advocacy), Ways & Means rejected a Resolution of Inquiry on the WTO’s IP waiver (see the extended Beltway Report), and we’re tweeting up a storm for Fungal Disease Awareness…
The only newsletter at the intersection of biotech, politics, and policy
September 21, 2022
Tons of news: SBIR/STTR bill passed the Senate and goes to the House (thanks in part to BIO advocacy), Ways & Means rejected a Resolution of Inquiry on the WTO’s IP waiver (see the extended Beltway Report), and we’re tweeting up a storm for Fungal Disease Awareness Week. (698 words, 3 minutes, 29 seconds)
Don’t forget to join today’s webinar on the drug provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act—register here.
SBIR/STTR passes Senate, moves to House
Reauthorization of important small business seed funding programs passed the Senate yesterday, 10 days before they were set to expire. They’re heading for what should be an easy ride in the House, in a win for BIO members and advocacy efforts.
BIO and member companies took action—with more than 450 letters sent to Members of Congress during the recent BIO Action campaign to advocate for reauthorization, and BIO pushing for action in advocacy activities on Capitol Hill, too.
Why it matters: The startups and small businesses who make up much of BIO’s membership rely on early-stage funding to get potentially life-saving ideas from the lab to the market—and scores of them have received grants through the SBIR/STTR programs, as we’ve reported in Bio.News.
What they're saying: “SBIR has been critical and important to our development," said Erika Smith, CEO of ReNetX Bio, speaking during a recent BIO webinar on the importance of reauthorization. "In 2013, we received our first SBIR funding to...see whether our therapy might be able to prevent or blindness and it was instrumental to the opportunity in our pipeline in ophthalmology and to help people who are blind.”
What’s next: The House is expected to act swiftly to approve the Senate-passed authorization of SBIR/STTR.
On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which includes a number of significant prescription drug-related provisions, including a new drug price negotiation program in Medicare, inflation rebates in Medicare Part B and Part D, and a redesign of the Medicare Part D benefit, with a new patient out-of-pocket cap of $2,000.
Join BIO leadership as well as experts from the Hogan Lovells Life Sciences & Health Care team for overviews with Q&A on these newly enacted provisions.
The first hour of the webinar will cover the new drug price negotiation program and inflation rebates in Medicare. The second hour will focus on the Medicare Part D benefit redesign and new out-of-pocket cap, as well as other important provisions that will reduce patient cost sharing.
Be vigilant: Fungal infections are especially problematic for the immunocompromised, often only diagnosed when an infection does not improve, says the CDC. It can also have symptoms similar to COVID-19.
Legislation can fix it: BIO supports the PASTEUR act, which would create a “Netflix-style” subscription system that ensures drug developers receive contractually agreed-upon sums for creating new antimicrobials.
Dr. Michelle’s Diagnosis: “AMR superbugs are expected to kill more than 10 million people annually by 2050,” said BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath. “Drug manufacturers need stronger financial incentives to build the drug pipeline of much-needed, life-saving measures.”
Help raise awareness today: To mark Fungal Disease Awareness Week, CDC will fire off a Twitter storm with 10 messages between 10 am and 11 am today. You can help by retweeting with one of these hashtags: #AntifungalResistance, #AntimicrobialResistance, #FungalWeek, and #ThinkFungus—learn more.
BIO Beltway Report
President Biden’s Wednesday: Addressing the UN General Assembly, where his main message will be the war in Ukraine, according to CBS. Also, meeting new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, in a meeting expected to focus on Ukraine and trade policy, according to the Guardian.
What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The House Ways & Means Committee yesterday rejected a Resolution of Inquiry seeking information from the Biden administration regarding the WTO’s waiver of IP protections for COVID-19 technology and plans to expand that waiver. As we reported yesterday, the Resolution of Inquiry was a symbolic vote, which was not expected to pass while offering a means for the Republicans to call attention to the issue. “The administration has not yet consulted with this committee or taken a position on an expanded waiver, nor have they shared any analysis on the impact of expanding the waiver,” the resolution’s author, Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), said—watch a video of the highlights.
Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up 24 bills, including another GOP-led Resolution of Inquiry, Resolution 1284, to call attention to questions about drug price controls under the Inflation Reduction Act (led by Ranking Member Cathy McMorris-Rodgers). BIO is pleased to see the increase in “special masters” via the Vaccine Injury Compensation Modernization Act, which is also part of the markup.
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