WASHINGTON -- The biotechnology industry may applaud theBush administration's proposed budget for 1993, whichcontains significant increases in funding for biotechnology andbiomedical research, and measures to expand support for thetransfer of technology to industry.

The industry may be less happy about the administration'splan to again seek user fees to support the Food and DrugAdministration.

The budget proposals submitted to Congress on Wednesday arethe first round in what will be a long battle over spendingpriorities.

In particular, the administration's emphasis on research anddevelopment is striking because under the Omnibus BudgetReconciliation Act, increased expenditures on civilian R&D mustbe matched by real decreases in other areas of non-defensedomestic spending.

The following highlights budget items of interest to thebiotechnology sector.

Research and Public Health

The budget includes a 9 percent increase, to $7.9 billion, insupport of individual investigators at the Department of Healthand Human Services (HHS), National Science Foundation (NSF)and the Department of Energy (DOE).

About $4.8 billion would be allocated for applied research anddevelopment at HHS, a 2 percent increase of $92 million. Anadditional $5.8 billion for basic research at HHS would include a6 percent increase in funds for basic biomedical and behavioralresearch.

In specific disease areas, the administration proposes a 4percent increase, to more than $1.2 billion, for biomedical andbehavioral research on HIV and AIDS.

Research funds for cancer would increase to $2 billion from$1.9 billion; for heart disease to $772 million from $729million; and for diabetes to $292 million from $279 million.

NSF funding would be boosted 18 percent, to $3 billion,including a 21 percent increase for basic research.

The Human Genome Project would be boosted 7 percent to$175 million. The funds will go to the DOE and HHS. TheNational Research Initiative (NRI), first proposed in the 1991budget for research on plant systems, including mapping ofplant genomes, would be increased 3 percent to $150 million.


Bush proposes to allocate about $579 million to direct supportof technology transfer activities in 1993, up 3 percent over1992, but 16 percent over 1991.

Increased technology transfer activities would include almost1,700 Cooperative Research and Development Agreements(CRADAs), a 40 percent increase since 1991. The dollar value ofCRADAs is expected to grow 22 percent over 1992 to $466million.

The White House also expects the federal government to makeabout 3,300 new invention disclosures, seek 1,500 patentapplications, and award almost 500 technology licenses.

The budget proposes an expansion of the National CooperativeResearch Act to include joint production ventures.

Tax Policies

The budget would make the Research and Experimentation taxcredit permanent. It also proposes an 18-month extension inthe rules for allocation of foreign and domestic R&Dexpenditures for companies with foreign operations.

The administration also would make permanent the orphandrug tax credit, which is scheduled to expire in June.

Food and Drug Administration

The request calls for $200 million in FDA user fees for productreview and seafood inspections. This would include "fees forFDA review of new product applications, including those fornew and generic drugs, medical devices, biologics, and food andcolor additives," according to the budget documentation.Congress rejected a similar administration request last year.

Total FDA budget authorization would increase to $760 millionfrom $690 million. This includes an increase in spending fordrug regulation to $3.3 billion from $2.9 billion.

-- Steve Usdin BioWorld Washington Bureau

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