Peters, Biotech Industry Cheer Funding for Medical Research

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Rep. Scott Peters at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. Photo courtesy Peters’ office

Rep. Scott Peters and the California biotech industry cheered the passage of a bill in Congress that increases funding for the National Institutes of Health by nearly $9 billion over five years.

The 21st Century Cures Act passed on a bipartisan 344-77 vote and now goes to the Senate, where a vote is expected in the fall.

“I’m hopeful that today’s bipartisan bill will bring us closer to increasing the annual NIH budget so that we can stay atop the world in terms of research, development, and discovery,” Peters said after the vote.

“San Diego institutions and labs received nearly $400 million in NIH funds last year, and rely on consistent investments to complete their groundbreaking research,” he added.

Among the San Diego delegation, only Rep. Darrell Issa voted against the bill, which also includes reforms to speed up the Food and Drug Administration‘s review process for new drugs and procedures. Some lawmakers criticized the bill because it included mandatory funding provisions, and others were concerned that the reforms could undermine drug safety.

However, the San Diego-based California Life Sciences Association described it as “a visionary piece of legislation critical to ensuring that California and the U.S. remains the worldwide leader in life sciences research, investment and innovation.

“Attention now turns to the Senate, and we look forward to working with Senators on their ideas and priorities for advancing biomedical research and development,” said the association, which represents more than 750 companies and organizations. “We encourage the Senate to move quickly in advancing this legislation through the chamber and to the president’s desk.”

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