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Scoop: House could vote on China biotechs in May

Illustration of a hourglass with a DNA strand in place of the glass

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House leadership is considering holding a floor vote on a bill to crack down on Chinese biotech companies later this month, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: The move shows continued momentum behind the bipartisan Biosecure Act, which could shake up the life sciences sector and require biotech firms to rework their relationships around targeted companies.

Driving the news: The possible vote could be part of a "China week," in which the chamber would take up a range of China-related bills.

  • A spokesman for Speaker Mike Johnson declined to comment.

Yes, but: There's considerable concern about the way a crackdown could disrupt clinical trials or other drug development given the interconnected relationships between biotechs and contract research firms targeted by the legislation, like WuXi AppTec.

  • The measure would cut off U.S. taxpayer funding for certain Chinese biotech companies that backers say pose a national security risk.
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup, who is taking over as the lead GOP co-sponsor of the bill from retired Rep. Mike Gallagher, told Axios today there are also possible changes to bill language under consideration, though he did not elaborate.
  • "We may be making some changes to it," he said. "You always want the benefits to outweigh the risks."

What's next: The House Oversight Committee is marking up the bill on May 15.

  • Even if the bill then did pass the House later this month, it is unlikely to get a standalone vote in the Senate.
  • The more likely route to getting it enacted would be including it in the National Defense Authorization Act this year.
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