WASHINGTON -- The newly elected president of theAssociation of Biotechnology Companies stressed the need forindustry consensus in laying out four major goals for theindustry organization during the next year.

Noting the wide range of interests among the association's morethan 300 member companies, "ABC has an enormous challengeto find a consensus from diversity," said Thomas Wiggins, ABCpresident, in remarks released last week by the ABC from hisaddress to members last month. "It is through unity andconsensus that biotech's impact may be felt at the White House,regulatory agencies, U.S. and state legislative bodies andconsumers worldwide," he said.

Topping Wiggins' agenda for the ABC are:

-- seeking implementation of recommendations made by thePresident's Council on Competitiveness for agencies to deliverbetter and faster regulatory reviews, using additional fundsraised with a user fee system,

-- urging actions to foster capital formation, including a newtax plan that would provide greater reward for risk capitalinvestments, as in biotechnology, and increased public fundingof biotechnology research,

-- promoting education in science and technology at the localand regional level, and

-- strengthening ABC operations by increasing efforts todevelop regional chapters, including those in Europe and Asia,expand program support from the association's Washingtonheadquarters and establishing a Bioethical Advisory Board.

The association's membership roster has added 60 companiesso far this year, including Boehringer-Mannheim, SphinxPharmaceuticals Co., U.S. Bioscience Inc. and the investmentfirm of Hambrecht & Quist, according to the ABC.

Wiggins is chief operating officer of CytoTherapeutics Inc. ofProvidence, R.I., which is developing membrane products forimplanting encapsulated living cells to treat a variety ofchronic and disabling diseases.

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