Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Target Chinese Biotech Firms to Protect Americans’ Personal Health Data

The legislation would protect American patient information and taxpayer dollars from falling into the hands of foreign adversaries’ biotechnology firms.

A group of bipartisan lawmakers have introduced the BIOSECURE Act to prohibit the federal government from contracting and financing Chinese biotechnology firms and foreign adversaries’ biotech companies of concern.

“As Americans have their blood drawn or take other medical tests each day, few have any idea that their personal genetic information could be going to biotech companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and other adversaries that would weaponize our own genomes against us,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorth (D-Ill.), ranking member on the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), said in a statement on May 10.

“Our bipartisan legislation would reduce this threat by preventing the flow of taxpayer dollars to biotech entities controlled by foreign adversaries, protecting the personal genetic information of Americans along with our national security,” he added.

The lawmakers said the legislation would protect American patient information and taxpayer dollars from being stolen by foreign adversaries’ biotechnology firms.

The bill is updated from an earlier version introduced in January, with changes in the timeline allowing biopharma companies enough time to cut their ties with Chinese biotech firms.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), co-sponsor of the bill, noted that “U.S. supply chains must break free from our dependency on foreign adversaries–American patients cannot be in a position where we rely on China for genomic testing or basic pharmaceutical ingredients.”

In a press release, the House Select Committee on the CCP, chaired by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), expressed concerns about the Chinese regime’s national security laws that require all Chinese firms—including biotech firms that collect, test, and store American genomic data—to share requested information with Beijing.

The legislation singles out several top Chinese biotech firms, including genetics company Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI Group), MGI, Complete Genomics, WuXi AppTec, and WuXi Biologics.

Among those companies, the lawmakers raised concerns that BGI Group and WuXi AppTec could threaten U.S. national security.

In January, the committee called on the Biden administration to investigate WuXi AppTec and its subsidiary, WuXi Biologics, due to their alleged ties to the Chinese military, formally known as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The committee cited numerous examples of WuXi AppTec and its leadership’s connection to the CCP and the PLA and urged the administration to blacklist the company.

The committee alleged that the WuXi AppTec had received investment from numerous PLA funds, including the AVIC Military-Civil Integration Selected Hybrid Securities Investment Fund.

In March, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a trade association representing the biotechnology industry, cut its ties with Chinese biotech firm WuXi AppTec amid pressure from lawmakers. The decision came as former Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), then chairman of the Select Committee on the CCP, had requested that the Department of Justice review BIO’s lobbying effort against the BIOSECURE Act.

Last year, the Department of Commerce, which oversees export controls, added two BGI affiliates—BGI Tech Solutions (Hong Kong) and BGI Research and Forensic Genomics International—to a trade blacklist. The department alleged these entities collect and analyze genetic data used by the Chinese regime for monitoring to suppress minorities in the country.

“The actions of these entities concerning the collection and analysis of genetic data present a significant risk of diversion to China’s military programs,” it said.

In 2020, the department also added two BGI subsidiaries—Xinjiang Silk Road BGI and Beijing Liuhe BGI—to its entity list. This decision came after the firms were accused of engaging in human rights violations against Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang region.

Reuters exclusively reported in 2021 that BGI allegedly collected genetic data from millions of women for extensive research on population traits, as well as collaborated with the Chinese military.

The legislation is sponsored by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorth (D-Ill.). The co-sponsors also include Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FLa.), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), and Don Davis (D-N.C.).

In another move, on May 6, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter to the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Robert Califf, raising concerns over China’s dominance in the global pharmaceutical market supply chains, which could allow the Chinese regime to “further dominate the pharmaceutical market and monopolize data collection to the detriment of Americans.”

Mr. Comer also warned that as the Chinese military becomes more entrenched in the biotechnology industry, “it becomes increasingly clear that the CCP seeks to weaponize genomic and medical data.”

Mr. Comer’s letter to the FDA is one of multiple letters sent to various federal agencies as part of a comprehensive “government-wide investigation into the ongoing efforts by the CCP to target, influence, and infiltrate every sector and community within the United States.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to BGI Group and WuXi AppTec for comments but has not received a response as of press time.


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