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BIO throws support behind China biotech crackdown

Illustration of a dna strand as a flagpole with an American flag at the top

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) today unexpectedly threw its support behind legislation cracking down on Chinese biotech firms and said it one of its members, WuXi AppTec, a major supplier of drug R&D and manufacturing services, had proactively ended its affiliation with the group.

Why it matters: It's a striking reversal from the leading U.S. biotech trade group that could remove an obstacle for advancing the leading legislative vehicle, the Biosecure Act.

  • It's also evidence of the blowback BIO has felt since it raised concerns about the legislation.

What they're saying: BIO's new CEO, John Crowley, wrote in a letter to Rep. Mike Gallagher today that the group "withdraws its prior letter issued before I began my tenure as CEO" that had raised concerns with Gallagher's bill, which would cut off U.S. funding for certain Chinese biotech companies.

  • "BIO will support the BIOSECURE Act and work with you and other members of Congress as this legislation progresses," Crowley added.
  • "Our adversaries abroad have stated that they intend to become the biotechnology center of excellence in the world," Crowley said in a press release, also on Wednesday. "America and our allies cannot let this happen."

The big picture: The move comes after Gallagher had written to the Justice Department asking for a review of BIO's lobbying against the bill under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The story has been updated to reflect a revised March 14 statement from BIO that WuXi proactively ended its membership in the organization. BIO originally said it was taking steps to separate from WuXi.

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