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U.S. and Allies to Discuss High-Tech Bio Collaboration and Chinese Competition

Daniel Kim Views  

High-ranking officials from South Korea, the United States, Japan, and India are set to convene at BIO USA 2024 to discuss strategies for advancing the industry. The summit will mainly address critical issues such as strengthening pharmaceutical supply chains but it may also touch upon the U.S.’s efforts to counter the influence of Chinese biotech firms.

According to government and industry sources, the meeting will take place on June 5th in San Diego, California. Delegates from the four nations will gather to explore collaborative initiatives in the biotech field, coinciding with the BIO USA 2024 conference, which runs from June 3 to 7.

After touring the BIO USA exhibition, representatives from each country will meet at the venue on the third day of the event for the summit.

The summit serves as a follow-up to the Next Generation Critical and Emerging Technologies Dialogue held in Seoul last December. During the last summit, the two nations agreed to enhance research collaboration and fortify the pharmaceutical supply chain by launching the Bio 1.5 Track Channel, a platform involving both government and pharmaceutical companies.

The upcoming meetings are expected to delve into specific research collaboration strategies and operational details for the Bio 1.5 Track Channel. Upon the United States’ request, representatives from India and Japan are to attend the summit with the possibility of the European Union’s (EU) involvement. South Korea will be represented by 2-3 secretaries, including the Presidential Secretary for Advanced Biotech, and a director-general from the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

There is speculation that the agenda may include discussions on the U.S.’s measures against Chinese biotech firms. The recently passed Biosecurity Act by the U.S. House of Representatives aims to prevent American patient data and taxpayer money from reaching biotech companies in adversarial nations. The law specifically targets five Chinese firms, including WuXi Biologics and BGI. If enacted, the companies will be prohibited from entering equipment and service contracts in the U.S. starting January 1, 2032. This development indicates an expansion of the U.S.-China economic rivalry into the biotech industry, as seen in similar tensions in the semiconductor and IT sectors.

The presence of South Korean Contract Development and Manufacturing Organizations (CDMOs) like Samsung Biologics and CHA Biotech at this year’s BIO USA—one of the largest contingents to date—reflects the shifting dynamics influenced by the U.S.’s stance on China.

A biotech industry insider noted, “As economic cooperation shifts to economic security, biotech companies are beginning to feel the impact of the U.S.-China conflict. While the U.S. Biosecurity Law is expected to benefit South Korean CDMO companies, considering the entire biotech industry, the Chinese market is also important, so flexible responses are needed.”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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