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Revised Bill Gives US Firms Time to Cut Ties With China Biotechs

“We can’t cut ourselves off and we don’t now want China to cut us off, so we have to do this in a systematic way,” a US lawmaker said

The logo of Chinese drug research and development group WuXi AppTec is displayed alongside its company website
The logo of Chinese drug research and development group WuXi AppTec is displayed alongside its company website. Photo: Reuters


US lawmakers have revised an earlier bill restricting ties between domestic and Chinese biotechnology firms to give companies at home time until 2032 to follow through with the restrictions.

“China has so much control of the market. We’ve got to start this shift,” US Representative Brad Wenstrup, who introduced the updated version of the Biosecure Act on Friday, said in an interview.

But “we can’t cut ourselves off and we don’t now want China to cut us off, so we have to do this in a systematic way,” he added.


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Wenstrup introduced the bill along with Representative Raja Krishamoorthi.

Krishnamoorthi, who is a ranking member on the Select Committee on Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, had also introduced the TikTok divest-or-ban bill earlier this year. US President Joe Biden signed the bill into law last month.

A US House of Representatives committee is now expected to decide next week whether to move the Biosecure Act forward, according to a House Committee on Oversight and Accountability spokesperson.

The committee markup, expected Wednesday, is a procedural step where they discuss and vote on the text of the bill.

A similar Senate bill — Prohibiting Foreign Access to American Genetic Information Act of 2024 — was approved by a committee there in March.


WuXi Biologics added to list of restricted biotechs

The bills are designed to keep Americans’ personal health and genetic information from foreign adversaries and aim to push US pharmaceutical and biotech companies to lessen their reliance on China for everything from drug ingredient manufacturing to early research.

The revised Biosecure Act also adds WuXi Biologics to a list of Chinese biotech companies of concern, Reuters reported.

The other companies on the list are BGI, MGI, Complete Genomics and WuXi AppTec.

The companies are largely contractors that do research and manufacturing work for pharmaceutical and biotech firms around the world.

Complete Genomics said it “is encouraged that policymakers understand the detrimental impacts to the US biotech supply chain – and how the legislation would jeopardise the drug supply for millions of American patients.” The company said it does not have access to personal DNA data and should be taken out of the bill.

Spokespeople for WuXi Biologics and WuXi AppTec said they had not seen the revised bill and could not comment on it. WuXi AppTec said the original bill relies on “misleading allegations and inaccurate assertions.”

News of the proposed legislation has driven WuXi AppTec and WuXi Biologics shares down this year.

MGI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

BGI Group said, as it has in the past, that it supports protecting Americans’ personal data and did not have access to the data. It said the bill would drive BGI out of the US and limit competition.


‘Reasonable timeframe’

The revised bill “highlights a key vulnerability in our global supply chain and importantly provides a reasonable timeframe for companies to decouple their reliance on China-based biomanufacturing,” John Crowley, president of BIO, an industry association, said in a statement.

The association sent the results of a member survey to Congress on Wednesday. Of the 124 biopharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies that responded, 79 percent had at least one contract or product agreement with a China-based or owned manufacturer.

The “vast majority” of business described in the survey is assumed to be with WuXi Biologics and WuXi AppTec, Crowley said in an interview.

Companies estimated it would take up to eight years to switch manufacturing partners, the survey found.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena


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Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has worked as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As a trader and investor, she is keenly interested in new economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can write to her at [email protected]


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