Updated BIOSECURE Act draft clears House committee

Legislation that would restrict US organisations from contracting with some Chinese biotech providers has been passed by a House of Representatives committee, moving closer to becoming law.

First introduced in January, the bipartisan BIOSECURE Act was voted through by the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, a few weeks after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee gave it the green light.

The House has backed an updated version of the bill that includes a later deadline of 31st January 2032 for US companies to cut their ties with companies cited in the legislation, which include WuXi AppTec, BGI Group, MGI/Complete Genomics and now WuXi Biologics, which was added in the latest draft, according to a Reuters report.

It would prohibit the purchase of equipment or contracting of servicers from the companies, which make a sizeable proportion of their revenues from US customers. In March, WuXi AppTec split from the Biotechnology Innovation Organisation (BIO) after the trade organisation voiced its support for the legislation.

The Act’s backers – Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi and Brad Wenstrup – insist that US supply chains “must break free from our dependency on foreign adversaries – American patients cannot be in a position where we rely on China for genomic testing or basic pharmaceutical ingredients.”

“US taxpayer dollars should not be funding…biotech companies that are actively working with the [Chinese Communist Party] and the People’s Liberation Army to potentially collect Americans’ genomic data and intellectual property and use that data to further their authoritarian objectives.”

Complete Genomics was quick to issue a statement after the Oversight Committee voted to advance the legislation, saying it was “disappointed” that it went forward without removing it and parent company MGI from the text.

“While there is still time for the bill to be amended and the effective date has been extended, neither MGI nor Complete Genomics should be named in the BIOSECURE Act,” said the company.

“As we have stressed repeatedly, Complete Genomics does not have access to, collect, or maintain the genetic data of patients; our customers retain full control over any data they generate,” it added. “In fact, former FBI cybersecurity experts at FTI Consulting have validated the security of Complete Genomics technology and concluded it did not have any vulnerabilities nor capability to transmit data.”

The company also contends that neither company is controlled by any Chinese government entity, are no longer subsidiaries of BGI, and have separate management, employees, and assets. BGI meanwhile has said that if the bill makes it onto the statute it will have to exit the US market.

Full votes in the House and Senate are the next steps before it can be signed into law by President Biden.

Image by Priyam Patel from Pixabay

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.