House Moves to Shore Up Nation’s Biodefenses By Passing BARDA Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 28, 2006) – Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood today praised the U.S. House of Representatives for unanimously passing the ‘‘Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2006’’ (H.R. 5533) last night:

“By passing the ‘BARDA’ bill, the House has taken an important and necessary step forward to improve national preparedness against biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear events.  I particularly appreciate the leadership of Rep. Mike Rogers and Rep. Anna Eshoo for introducing this very important bill.

“H.R. 5533 recognizes that our nation must do more to ensure the development of medical countermeasures against bioterrorism and pandemic diseases.  Currently, many promising countermeasures are not making it through the advance research and development necessary to bring products to the point of eligibility for procurement by the landmark Project BioShield.  These products face serious obstacles in what we commonly refer to as the ‘Valley of Death,’ which refers to the period between early-stage research and development.

“This legislation begins to bridge the ‘Valley of Death’ by creating a Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to facilitate collaboration and promote innovation.  Specifically, BARDA is given funding and authority under the legislation to enter into contracts to support advanced research and development and to support innovation.

“Additionally, H.R. 5533 contains many important procurement reforms, such as milestone payments, the authority to enter into multiple transactions for the procurement of multiple technologies, surge capacity contracts, and establish a National Biodefense Science Board to bring industry and government together to provide expert advice to the Secretary on preparedness.  These provisions, along with others included in H.R. 5533, will better ensure effective countermeasure development.

“We now call on the Senate to move quickly to pass companion legislation which contains important antitrust provisions.  We stand ready to work with all members of the Senate to ensure the United States is prepared to respond to medical threats.”

About BIO

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.