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Representative Diana DeGette Named BIO Legislator of the Year

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 15, 2006) – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has named Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D, CO-1) as a “Legislator of the Year” for 2005-2006.

“BIO commends Representative DeGette for her dedication as a champion of health care research, particularly juvenile diabetes and stem cell therapies,” BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood stated. “BIO fully supports the Castle-DeGette bill (H.R. 810) which would permit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research within an ethical framework governing donation for research of embryos left over after in vitro fertilization procedures. Stem cell research has the potential to generate transplantable cells, tissues and organs to treat diseases afflicting upwards of 100 million Americans. Representative DeGette’s leadership was critical to the success of the bill when it passed the House last year by a wide bipartisan margin.”

Congresswoman DeGette received the BIO Legislator of the Year award this afternoon in a meeting with representatives of the biotechnology industry from Colorado, including Denise Brown, Executive Director of the Colorado BioScience Association.

“The bioscience industry in Colorado is proud of Congresswoman DeGette and is grateful for her efforts to create a rationale and enlightened approach in key areas of science policy. Her tireless efforts resulted in a substantial bi-partisan coalition, which proved that advancing new technologies to improve human health in a responsible manner can be accomplished,” stated Denise Brown. “Congresswoman DeGette is a visionary leader with great skills and persistence; and the bioscience industry is fortunate that she has focused her talents on behalf of discovery and the promise of new medical treatments.”

More than 200 biotechnology industry representatives from 35 states, including Colorado, will participate in nearly 300 meetings with key members of the House and Senate today as part of the BIO Legislative Day event. Participants will discuss issues critical to the biotechnology industry, including patent rights, the risk of drug importation, the Small Business Innovation Research program, and science-based standards for adventitious presence.

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.