As the Association of Biotechnology Companies (ABC) and theIndustrial Biotechnology Association (IBA) prepare to merge,their leaders, Thomas G. Wiggans, chief operating officer ofCytoTherapeutics Inc., and Stephen A. Duzan, chairman andchief executive officer of Immunex Corp., have sent a strongletter to President-elect Clinton, urging him to attend to theindustry's most immediate concerns.

Capital formation is the premier item on the ABC/IBA agendafor Clinton, including provisions for incentives for long-termcapital for emerging high-technology industries through a seedand venture capital bill and Clinton's 1993 economic growthbill, as well as reform of research and development tax creditto end tax code discrimination against fast-growing companies.

Also on the wish list for the first 100 days:

-- Enact the Biotechnology Patent Protection Act, to preventforeign companies from exporting U.S.-patented products to theU.S.

-- Support appropriations that would allow FDA to collect userfees and to hire new staff to speed drug approval.

-- For the longer term, the two trade chiefs said that certaincorporate accounting rules must be changed to enable emergingbiotech companies to use stock options to attract scientist andmanagers.

They also urged scrapping of provisions in the biodiversitytreaty that would oblige U.S. biotech companies to payunspecified royalties on indigenous materials to developingcountries. Vice President Elect Gore has already acknowledgedthe treaty's deficiencies in these areas. The U.S. has not signedthe treaty.

Wiggans and Duzan also expressed their concern about thepossibility of price controls on pharmaceuticals.

Wiggans is optimistic about the industry's future under Clinton.For the past three weeks, Wiggans has been in touch withClinton's transition team members involved in domestic policydevelopment and senior administration officials.

"Clinton has said he support small business and emergingtechnology," Wiggans said. "And if you support both, and youare interested in making the U.S. competitive globally, you'veto be for biotech. -- David C. Holzman

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