WASHINGTON -- The U.S. biotechnology industry holds aleading world position that is unlikely to be eroded during thenext five years, according to a report by the Washington-basedCouncil on Competitiveness.

The success of biotechnology is due to the intensity of thepharmaceutical industry's commitment to research; significantfederal support of biological research, especially through theNational Institutes of Health; and the relatively unfettered flowof information between government-supported and industryresearchers, the report said.

But the council, which represents large businesses and researchuniversities, warned that the U.S. position in other criticaltechnologies, such as robotics and semiconductors, is slipping.To reverse the trend, the report said, the government mustdramatically increase federal R&D expenditures for criticaltechnologies, while industry must find ways to share the costsand results of pre-competitive research, increase investment inproprietary R&D and surpass the commercialization practices offoreign competitors.

-- Rachel Nowak Washington Bureau Chief

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