Biden Vows to Fund Biotech to Fight Cancer on 60th “Moonshot” Anniversary

Pres. Joe Biden vowed to bolster the U.S. biotechnology sector after signing an executive order to improve the fight against cancer.

President Joe Biden vowed to bolster the U.S. biotechnology sector after signing an executive order Monday to improve the fight against cancer, spur more domestically-made products and increase education to stay ahead of China and other emerging foreign rivals.

The president delivered a call Monday to dramatically reduce cancer death rates on the 60th anniversary of Pres. John F. Kennedy’s “Moonshot” speech. Kennedy vowed to put a man on the moon and for the U.S. to lead in space exploration. Pres. Biden’s son Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46.

Cancer doesn’t care if its patients are Democrats or Republicans, Biden said. He called on the country to put the same effort into fighting the disease as it did in traveling to the moon. The research could lead to scientific and medical breakthroughs such as vaccines and early detection tests for cancer.

Biden said the executive order he signed before his speech directs the government to ensure that technologies and products developed in the U.S. are manufactured in the country.

The White House is expected to release more details on funding and other aspects of the order Wednesday during a meeting of agency heads.

Biden also named Dr. Renee Wegrzyn as the first director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, a government-backed research group. Wegrzyn is vice president in charge of business development at Ginkgo Bioworks.

The new initiative is necessary to compete with China and other emerging biotech rivals vying with the U.S. for manufacturing jobs and intellectual property rights. The U.S. is at risk of falling behind foreign biotech competitors unless the federal government increases support for the industry, according to the administration.

The initiative goes beyond healthcare and aims to advance research and development to bolster manufacturing capacity, make supply chains more secure and reduce risk, according to a White House fact sheet.

The initiative will also result in more biotechnology-backed agricultural products, support training and education programs and streamline regulations, according to the administration.

With mid-term elections approaching, the Biden Administration is pushing to bring more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. from offshore locales.