Biden to announce new support for US biotech production

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is launching a new initiative to encourage biotech production and research in the U.S., the latest move by the White House to boost domestic industry.

Biden on Monday signed an executive order implementing the initiative and later, in remarks at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, will address how biotech can help fight cancer. On Wednesday, the Democratic president’s administration will host a summit and announce new investments from several federal agencies, according to a White House fact sheet.

The initiative will seek to boost biomanufacturing in pharmaceuticals but also in other industries such as agriculture, plastics and energy. A senior administration official wouldn’t say how much funding will be announced Wednesday.

Biomanufacturing processes can program microbes to make specialty chemicals and compounds, the fact sheet said. Biomanufacturing can be used to make alternatives to oil-based chemicals, plastics and textiles.

The executive order follows bipartisan legislation Biden signed last month that provided $52 billion to subsidize the production of semiconductors, construction of new chip plants and research and development in the United States.

That legislation was intended to reduce the U.S. economy’s reliance on semiconductors made overseas, particularly in Taiwan, and to respond to greater efforts by China to develop its own chip industry.

Biden touted the benefits of the semiconductor law on Friday, in a stop in Columbus, Ohio, where chip giant Intel has broken ground on a new $20 billion factory.

The administration official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and insisted on anonymity, said the White House wants to support manufacturing biotech products that are developed in the U.S., rather than seeing American innovations produced abroad.

The official said that the administration was aiming to expand domestic biomanufacturing capacity and that other countries, especially China, have been aggressively investing in the sector, posing risks to U.S. leadership and competitiveness.

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