Representative Sam Graves Named BIO Legislator of the Year

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 15, 2006) -- The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has named Congressman Sam Graves (R, MO-6) as a “Legislator of the Year” for 2005-2006.

“As a small businessman, Representative Sam Graves understands the challenges facing emerging biotechnology companies.  BIO commends his leadership as a champion of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program and as the author of the SABIR Act (H.R. 2943) to allow more emerging biotechnology companies to compete for this grant funding,” BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood stated.  “The Congressman is also a farmer and understands the important role biotechnology plays in today's agriculture for farmers regardless of the size of their farm operation.”

Congressman Graves received the BIO Legislator of the Year award this afternoon in a meeting with representatives of the biotechnology industry from Missouri, including Kelly P. Gillespie, Executive Director of the Missouri Biotechnology Association. 

“Congressman Graves balances his duties in Washington with time actually running his family farm. He is a hands-on legislator who really understands and is responsive to the needs of his district. As Chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee, he works tirelessly to advance biotechnology and innovation as keys to future efficiencies for Missouri farmers,” stated Mr. Gillespie. “The Congressman also fought tirelessly last year for new renewable fuel standards within the energy bill, and with these ethanol provisions, Missouri will now play a central role in making America more energy independent.”

More than 200 biotechnology industry representatives from 35 states, including Missouri, will participate in nearly 300 meetings with key members of the House and Senate today as part of the BIO Legislative Day event.  Participants will discuss issues critical to the biotechnology industry, including patent rights, the risk of drug importation, the SBIR grant program, and science-based standards for adventitious presence.

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.