Biden announces new support for US biotech production

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. pharmaceutical / ˌfɑr məˈsu tɪ kəl / (n.) – a big drug company

    Pharmaceuticals need approval from the FDA before launching new medicines.

  2. subsidize / ˈsʌb sɪˌdaɪz / (v.) – to pay part of the cost of a product, service, etc. that a person or an organization needs

    The company subsidizes 50% of the employees’ monthly transportation costs.

  3. tout / taʊt / (v.) – to praise something as very good, effective, etc. so that other people will like or accept it

    Environmental groups are touting the use of eco-friendly products.

  4. break ground / breɪk graʊnd / (idiom) – to start a construction project such as a structure or building

    The construction of a new bridge is expected to break ground next month.

  5. anonymity / ˌæn əˈnɪm ɪ ti / (n.) – a situation in which a person’s name isn’t known or is kept secret

    The witness promised to speak up in exchange for anonymity.


Read the text below.

President Joe Biden has launched a new initiative to encourage biotech production and research in the U.S., the latest move by the White House to boost domestic industry.

Biden signed an executive order implementing the initiative and later, in remarks at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, addressed how biotech can help fight cancer. On September 14, the Democratic president’s administration hosted a summit and announced new investments from several federal agencies, according to a White House fact sheet.

The initiative seeks to boost biomanufacturing in pharmaceuticals but also in other industries such as agriculture, plastics and energy. A senior administration official wouldn’t say how much funding would be announced.

Biomanufacturing processes can program microbes to make specialty chemicals and compounds, the fact sheet said. Biomanufacturing can be used to make alternatives to oil-based chemicals, plastics and textiles.

The executive order follows bipartisan legislation Biden signed two months ago that provided $52 billion to subsidize the production of semiconductors, construction of new chip plants and research and development in the United States.

That legislation was intended to reduce the U.S. economy’s reliance on semiconductors made overseas, particularly in Taiwan, and to respond to greater efforts by China to develop its own chip industry.

Biden touted the benefits of the semiconductor law, in a stop in Columbus, Ohio, where chip giant Intel has broken ground on a new $20 billion factory.

The administration official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and insisted on anonymity, said the White House wants to support manufacturing biotech products that are developed in the U.S., rather than seeing American innovations produced abroad.

The official said that the administration was aiming to expand domestic biomanufacturing capacity and that other countries, especially China, have been aggressively investing in the sector, posing risks to U.S. leadership and competitiveness.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • How active is your country in developing and promoting biotechnology (ex. aggressive, inactive)? In what industry do you think your country should focus applying biotech on? Why? Discuss.
  • A lot of biotech experiments use humans and animals as subjects for clinical testing. Do you agree with this practice? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The initiative is intended to boost biomanufacturing in pharmaceuticals. How do you think this initiative can help in healthcare-related products (ex. we can develop more effective medicines)? Discuss.
  • Billions of dollars have already been spent on finding a cure for serious diseases, such as cancer, AIDS, etc. In your opinion, are we better equipped in curing diseases now? Why or why not? Discuss.