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OTA WORKSHOPS ON BIOTECHNOLOGY ISSUES PLANNED

Executive Summary

OTA WORKSHOPS ON BIOTECHNOLOGY ISSUES PLANNED for May 2 and July 6-7 in Washington, D.C. The workshops will be part of the Office of Technology Assessment's study on the U.S. competitive position in biotechnology. Plans for the workshops were discussed at the first meeting of the OTA advisory panel for the biotech project on April 17. The meeting addressed the scope of the overall project and the first two of three reports planned by OTA ("The Pink Sheet" April 10, T&G-4). The May 2 workshop will address federal coordination of biotechnology research and regulation. The session will focus on regulatory agencies involved in research and development policy issues as well as international regulatory issues. International investment in biotechnology will be the subject of the July workshop. OTA will invite papers from government and private sector representatives in 16 countries on the importance given to biotechnology research. European countries as well as Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia will be among those invited to make presentations. Both meetings will be open to the public. The April 17 meeting provided opportunity for a preliminary discussion between OTA staff and the panel of biotech experts on the scope of the study. The session addressed OTA's reports on "International Investment in Biotechnology" and "The International Regulatory Environment for Biotechnology." In the first report, for example, members of the panel pointed out that limited domestic investment in biotechnology should be addressed as a current problem. Among the issues raised with regard to the second report were regulations in areas such as recombinant DNA research, animal welfare and good laboratory practices. The group also noted that intellectual property and product liability laws as they relate to biotechnology should be reviewed. Discussion on the first report was led by OTA Study Director Rand Snell; Project Director Kevin O'Connor introduced the second report. Among the industry/financial representatives on the 12-member OTA panel are: Robert Benson, Genentech; Jerry Caulder, Mycogen Corporation; Peter Drake, Vector Securities; Michael Hsu, Asia/Pacific Strategic Bioventures; Dennis Longstreet, Ortho Pharmaceutials; James Sherblom, Transgenic Sciences and Sarah Shoaf, Centocor.
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