BIO Applauds Senate Passage of BARDA Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 6, 2006) – Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President & CEO Jim Greenwood issued the following statement regarding passage by the Senate yesterday of S. 3678, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act:

“Passage by the U.S. Senate of this bill, which includes critical BARDA provisions and provisions to reauthorize bioterrorism grants, is an important and necessary step toward improving America’s defenses against bioterrorism and pandemic diseases.

“This legislation recognizes that the ‘Valley of Death’ remains a barrier to effective countermeasure product development, and authorizes the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the Department of Health and Human Services. Through BARDA, contracts and grants for advanced research and development will be made to companies working on products to protect the American people. The bill also contains important contract reforms that improve upon the advances made under Project BioShield, by allowing, for example, milestone payments and surge capacity provisions to improve the viability and sustainability of biodefense product development and manufacture.

“Significantly, the Senate-passed bill contains strong funding levels and important provisions to permit competing companies to cooperatively respond to government-declared emergencies without violating antitrust laws.

“In September, the House passed the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2006 (H.R. 5533). We urge the House and the Senate to work quickly so that important reforms are enacted to foster strong national preparedness.”

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.