The Week in Science and Science Policy May 8th-15th

By | May 15, 2017

The forces shaping biopharma in China

While the United States has long led the world in biotech research and industry, China is catching up quickly. The Chinese government has identified biotechnology and synthetic biology as of crucial importance to defense, industry, and medicine, and drawn up detailed plans for the future of Chinese science. In light of the decreased interest in science research and funding by the United States government, it’s likely that we will be caught by surprise when we realize that China has surpassed us.

This Stat article summarizes 5 forces playing a role in shaping the growth of biopharma in China, both helping and hurting the field.

Industry and Academic Leaders meet with President Trump

For the first time in his term, President Trump met with representatives of the biotech industry as well as government and academic research institutes last week. In the discussion, the representatives discussed the importance of federal research and the negative impact of Trump’s immigration policies, but didn’t bring up the proposed NIH budget cut for 2018. Also of note—the group picture highlights the not-surprising, but disappointing, lack of diversity within science leadership.

Knockoff reagents hamper Chinese science

Chock this up to something that I’ve never had to think about as a scientist in the United States. This is a fascinating dive into the world of counterfeit supplies in China, the frequency of counterfeit supplies, and what China is doing to improve. One of the main plans is the creation of partially state-owned companies, which bring in reagents, and conduct customs and quarantine inspection in house, removing some of the opportunity for switching out supplies.

This story was also covered in this weeks Nature podcast

The dangers of “anti-science”

It’s easy to classify anybody that wants to cut science funding or doesn’t agree with what scientists think is the best way forward “anti-science’. However, this is a dangerous label. As we saw a few weeks ago when the Senate passed the budget, politicians from both sides of the aisle do support science funding. Politicians must weigh multiple aspects of a problem, with science”and the best interests of the field being only one side of a problem.

The Regulatory Accountability Act

While we should take care not to throw around the anti-science label too much, we also can’t be too generous towards people that make legislation that is clearly aimed to disrupt science for the economic gains of the few. The Regulatory Accountability Act would do just this, adding significant burdens to scientists and the process of research to prevent science-based regulations that big businesses don’t want.


Pharmaceutical industry proposes increased research spending to improve their image

Science goes on as Venezuela crumbles

Scientists look for funding to synthesize the human genome

While Trump looks to cut regulations, drug safety is still a huge problem

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