A tight funding environment for academic research, coupled with rapid technological advances, has created an environment where innovation will increasingly occur in industry and at start-up companies. Regulation in new fields, such as synthetic biology, trails the cutting edge of research, creating an extra need for industry to be involved in the discussion surrounding biosecurity.
A new conference hopes to fill this role by bringing top Administration and Agency officials directly to the site of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) annual meeting. Organized with the Partnership for Global Security (PGS) and the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Strategic Threat Analysis and Response (ISTAR), the new Biosecurity conference is notable in that it demonstrates a commitment by BIO to examine biosecurity issues.
Looking to foster the discussion, the Obama administration is sending a significant number of participants from various relevant agencies; Gary Samore, the White House Coordinator for the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism, US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, and Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services, are expected to participate in the opening session. The conference will also hold sessions on food security, public health surveillance, countermeasures, and risk mitigation.
More information is available at the conference web site, http://convention.bio.org/biosecurity/