House Speaker Plans to Vote, Pass BIOSECURE Act into Law This Year

Pictured: A close-up of the U.S. Capitol dome/iSto

A close-up of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, DC

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Monday said he intends to have a “significant package of China-related legislation” signed into law by the end of this year, including the BIOSECURE Act which intends to stop federal contracts with Chinese “companies of concern.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced on Monday that he is working on advancing the BIOSECURE Act and intends to bring the proposed legislation to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives in the fall.

In Monday’s speech at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank, Johnson said that “we will vote” on the BIOSECURE Act, which intends to halt federal contracts with Chinese biotech companies “that are beholden to adversaries and endanger Americans’ healthcare data.”

“Our goal is to have a significant package of China-related legislation signed into law by the end of this year in this Congress, featuring these priorities and many more, and we’ll work aggressively toward that package,” Johnson said in his speech.

The move was welcomed by the chair of the Select Committee on the CCP, Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), who noted that for the remainder of this Congress and the next the committee is working “to continue to protect the United States and our values from the malign influence of our nation’s foremost adversary, the Chinese Communist Party.”

The BIOSECURE Act was introduced in January 2024 by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) aim to ensure that “foreign adversary biotech companies” do not get access to U.S. taxpayer dollars. However, the bill was left off of the final list of amendments to be discussed for inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2025, which specifies the spending and overall budget for the U.S. Department of Defense.

The bill explicitly targets several China-based biotechs including WuXi AppTec, WuXi Biologics, Complete Genomics, Beijing Genomics Institute and MGI, which have been labeled “companies of concern.” The proposed legislation also bans entities from entering into new agreements or extending existing contracts with these companies. However, in the latest draft, the deadline for U.S.-based manufacturers to cut ties has been extended to Jan. 1, 2032.

In SEC documents, several biotech companies discussed how the BIOSECURE Act would impact their respective businesses. Cell therapy biotech Iovance Biotherapeutics stated that a WuXi subsidiary was contracted to make its products, but “geopolitical tensions” with China may impact its “ability to expand manufacturing capacity.” Merck also detailed that it had “significant” R&D operations in China and worked with WuXi.

The proposed legislation has already started to impact American biotech companies. A recent survey by consultancy LEK found that the confidence of U.S.-based life science companies working with China-based firms has been reduced by 30% to 50% in the months since the bill was introduced. Around 68% of survey respondents indicated they are also implementing interventions such as boosting compliance and legal requirements as well as diversifying suppliers after the bill’s announcement.