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April 3, 2023

White House OSTP Outlines Goals for U.S. Biotechnology and Manufacturing

Lynn L Bergeson

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

As reported in our March 30, 2023, blog item, on March 22, 2023, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a new report, Bold Goals for U.S. Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing: Harnessing Research and Development to Further Societal Goals. The report includes five sections, each presenting goals that highlight what could be possible with the power of biology. The goals set ambitious national targets for the next two decades to help establish research and development (R&D) priorities that will be critical to advance the bioeconomy. Each section also outlines the essential R&D needed to achieve these goals for the U.S. bioeconomy, opportunities for public-private collaboration, and recommendations for enhancing biosafety and biosecurity. The report notes that achieving these goals will require significant prioritization of R&D investments and other efforts across the U.S. government, as well as actions from the private sector; state, local, and Tribal governments; and international partners.
The report states that bold goals for the U.S. bioeconomy include, for example:

  • Climate: In 20 years, demonstrate and deploy cost-effective and sustainable routes to convert biobased feedstocks into recyclable-by-design polymers that can displace more than 90 percent of today’s plastics and other commercial polymers at scale;
  • Food and Agriculture: By 2030, reduce methane emissions from agriculture, including by increasing biogas capture and utilization from manure management systems, reducing methane from ruminant livestock, and reducing methane emissions from food waste in landfills, to support the U.S. goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50 percent and the global goal of reducing methane emissions by 30 percent;
  • Supply Chain: In 20 years, produce at least 30 percent of the U.S. chemical demand via sustainable and cost-effective biomanufacturing pathways;
  • Health: In 20 years, increase the manufacturing scale of cell-based therapies to expand access, decrease health inequities, and decrease the manufacturing cost of cell-based therapies tenfold; and
  • Cross-Cutting Advances: In five years, sequence the genomes of one million microbial species and understand the function of at least 80 percent of the newly discovered genes.

According to this report, reaching these goals will require progress in other areas beyond R&D to ensure that innovation can lead to safe, effective, and equitable products that will grow the bioeconomy. The report states that in forthcoming reports and plans, departments and agencies will outline recommendations and steps that are underway to advance the following:

  • Data for the bioeconomy — Establishing a Data Initiative to ensure that high-quality, wide-ranging, easily accessible, and secure biological data sets can drive breakthroughs for the U.S. bioeconomy;
  • Domestic biomanufacturing infrastructure — Expanding domestic capacity to manufacture all the biotechnology products invented in the United States and to support a resilient supply chain;
  • Workforce development — Growing training and educational opportunities for the biotechnology and biomanufacturing workforce of the future;
  • Regulatory clarity and efficiency — Improving the clarity and efficiency of the regulatory process for biotechnology products to help ensure products come to market safely and efficiently;
  • Biosafety and biosecurity — Creating a Biosafety and Biosecurity Innovation Initiative to reduce risks associated with advances in biotechnology and biomanufacturing; and
  • International engagement R&D — Pursuing cooperation through joint research projects and data sharing, while mitigating risks and reaffirming democratic values.

According to the report, OSTP will lead the development of a strategy and implementation plan to execute on R&D priorities and other actions identified in the report.