Axios Pro Exclusive Content

China panel casts spotlight on another biotech

Illustration of a flashlight shining a light with a dna strand in it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House Select Committee on the CCP wants a briefing from the Biden administration on the biotech company GenScript to assess any ties to the Chinese Communist Party and whether it poses any risks to the U.S.

Why it matters: The request to the FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines could signal that the committee is ready to add more targeted companies to the Biosecure Act before it comes to the House floor this month.

The latest: The letter from Select Committee Chair John Moolenaar and top Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi alleges "tight links" between GenScript and the Chinese Communist Party.

  • It also says the firm could be "working to establish CCP-controlled chokepoints in critical areas of biotechnology in which the U.S. currently leads."
  • The request comes two weeks after the House Oversight Committee advanced the Biosecure Act, which would cut off U.S. government funding to five targeted companies: BGI, MGI, Complete Genomics, WuXi AppTec and WuXi Biologics.

Background: The letter points to GenScript's role as a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), meaning it helps manufacture components used in other pharmaceutical companies' products.

  • The panel says this poses "potential risks to the intellectual property of U.S. firms."

The other side: "GenScript was proudly founded in Piscataway, New Jersey, and our leadership has always operated independently — we do not take direction from any government," the company said in a statement.

  • "We look forward to engaging with the Select Committee to help them better understand our business and decades-long commitment to being a force for good in the life sciences."

What's next: The House is expected to vote on its version of the annual defense authorization bill this month.

  • The Biosecure Act is expected to be offered as an amendment to the package but could still be expanded as it winds through the legislative process.
Go deeper