Federal Regulatory, Funding Changes Imperil Bay Area Innovation Economy 

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The Bay Area Council, through our Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium (BASIC), is pushing back against funding and regulatory changes by the Biden administration that we believe will hurt our region’s burgeoning life sciences industry and undermine our vaunted innovation and technology economy. 

One proposed regulatory change would allow the government to set the prices of drugs developed at universities with the help of federal funding (termed “march-in rights” in the Bayh-Dole Act, the 1980 law that enables the commercialization of federally funded research). Intervention by the government in the pharmaceutical sector would create a harmful precedent that the government could set pricing terms for a broader range of technologies and products, at the expense of innovation that has benefitted the Bay Area and national economies. 

Separately, the Commerce Department is reallocating funding under the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act, which provided $52 billion to incentivize investment in semiconductor manufacturing and research, that eliminates $3.5 billion budget to support major investments in facilities for semiconductor research, which is currently a California strength and the United States’ competitive advantage. The move imperils important investments in the Bay Area and elsewhere that would assure our continued technological leadership. 

BASIC has joined the Business Alliance to Stop Innovation Confiscation, a nationwide alliance sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to oppose the march-in rights proposal. Letters have also been sent to Senator Alex Padilla and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren urging them to work with the administration to reverse its semiconductor research facilities funding decision. A similar letter will be hand-delivered to Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves when a Bay Area Council delegation meets with him in Washington, DC, next month. For more information, please contact Senior Director Sean Randolph.             

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