The nascent Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) electedGenentech Inc.'s G. Kirk Raab as the first chairman of its boardof directors last Thursday.

Joining Raab in his efforts to turn BIO into a "single unifiedvoice" to represent biotechnology to policy makers and publicalike will be Genzyme Corp.'s Henri Termeer as vice chairmanfor health care; Calgene Inc.'s Roger Salquist as vice chairmanfor food, agriculture and environment; Gensia PharmaceuticalsInc.'s David Hale as secretary; and ImmunoGen Inc.'s MitchelSayare as treasurer.

BIO, which was formed by a merger of the IndustrialBiotechnology Association and the Association of BiotechnologyCompanies (all in Washington, D.C.), begins its formal operationsJuly 1. It will represent not only biotechnology companies, butalso state biotech centers, industry suppliers, educationalinstitutions and local chapters and affiliates in 27 countries.

BIO's agenda for the coming year is to continue its constructiverelationship with the Clinton administration and Congress onhealth care reform and other issues in which Raab has played aleading and proactive role over the past six months, toestablish relationships with patient advocacy groups and otherinterested parties to broaden public understanding and supportfor biotech, and to work with the agricultural agencies (the U.S.Department of Agriculture and the Environmental ProtectionAgency) as well as the FDA to increase public support forgenetically modified foods and agricultural products.

"Societal needs, including treatment and cures for disease andimproved agriculture, can and will be met throughbiotechnology," Raab said. "It is essential that policy makersrealize this and foster the safe and expeditious progress of thisindustry."

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.