Is President Biden’s recent executive order on biotech a game changer? Here’s our rundown of the bill’s key goals and provisions.
In September 2022, President Joe Biden signed an executive order providing more than $2 billion for the biotechnology industry. It’s an ambitious, wide-ranging program. According to the White House, biotechnology investment can help boost the country’s economy, support its workforce, sustain the environment and improve the lives of U.S. citizens.
Biotechnology truly is a matter of life and death. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector was critical to developing tests, treatments and vaccines. But Biden’s executive order does more than provide continued funding for biotech and biomanufacturing in the medical industry. It also aims to help “achieve our climate and energy goals, improve food security and sustainability, secure our supply chains and grow the economy across all of America.”
Here are a few key ways the 2022 biotech spending bill will work toward those goals.
Under the executive order, the majority of the funding — $1 billion from the Department of Defense — will be invested over five years to strengthen the country’s bioindustrial manufacturing infrastructure and establish a domestic base that will attract innovators in the field. The goal of this support is to help expand manufacturing capacity for products that are critical to both commercial and defense supply chains. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide $500 million via a grant program to encourage the development and use of sustainable fertilizer.
strengthen supply chains
The plan also aims to strengthen supply chains across the country, particularly in times of increased need (during pandemics, for example). Measures outlined include a $40 million investment from the Department of Health and Human Services to support the production of pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics and essential components of medications.
The Department of Defense is also launching a five-year initiative called the Tri-Service BioTechnology for a Resilient Supply Chain program. This program will accelerate the research-to-production cycle and support the development of bio-based materials, like polymers and resins, for defense supply chains.
With an eye on rising prices caused by supply chain issues, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation and the USDA have launched the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge to help lower the cost and enhance the production of sustainable aviation fuels.
get bio-products to market
Biden’s executive order also includes several components that will help speed up the process of bringing various biotech and biomanufacturing products to market. Most notably, this includes $100 million from the Department of Energy for research and development to convert biomass to fuels and $60 million to commercialize biorefineries that produce renewable chemicals and can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Through the USDA, the BioPreferred Program will create a catalog of over 16,000 registered biobased products, helping to expand markets. The $10 million Bioproduct Pilot Program will help scale up the manufacture and study of bioproducts.
The biotech and biomanufacturing fields are rapidly evolving, especially in the wake of COVID-19. Dig deeper into our life sciences coverage for analysis of the latest trends in these critical industries.