Current Edition

Biotech trade group pledges support for BIOSECURE Act, plans to boot member WuXi AppTec

As CDMO giants Wuxi AppTec and WuXi Biologics come under mounting scrutiny for their alleged ties to Chinese government officials, they are losing a key ally in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) said it’s taking “important steps” to support U.S. national security. Those steps include supporting the BIOSECURE Act, which looks to prevent “adversary biotech companies” from obtaining federal funding.

BIO also plans to take steps to remove WuXi AppTec from its membership roster, the trade group said.

“Our adversaries abroad have stated that they intend to become the biotechnology center of excellence in the world,” BIO CEO John Crowley said in a statement. “America and our allies cannot let this happen. Securing and advancing our preeminence in biomanufacturing will be one key component of a multi-prong approach to secure and advance this strategic imperative in biotechnology.”

BIO’s decision comes shortly after the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.), began raising questions about whether the group should be forced to register as a foreign agent.

Gallagher recently asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to start a review of BIO’s lobbying against the BIOSECURE Act, according to the publication.

Back in January, a bipartisan group of lawmakers began advancing legislative efforts to crack down on certain Chinese biopharma companies because of alleged ties to government officials and the Chinese military. The U.S. Senate’s homeland security committee last week voted to advance a version of the BIOSECURE Act.

As WuXi Biologics’ stock price crashed in late January, the company defended itself and said the lawmakers had mischaracterized its CEO, Zhisheng Chen. More recently, WuXi AppTec said it strongly objects to “blanket allegations and preemptive actions against our company without due process.”

WuXi Biologics and WuXi AppTec are separate but associated “sister companies,” according to The Wall Street Journal.  

Besides the two CDMO giants, the BIOSECURE Act targets Chinese genomics companies BGI Group, MGI and Complete Genomics.