WASHINGTON--Don’t add biomedical companies to the short list of U.S. industries that have agreed to form national research consortia to compete in world markets. The strain of mixing scientific cooperation with financial competition ap- pears to be too great.

Although drug companies have yet to form a consortium to do basic research in biotechnology, their scientists can watch how one variant of the concept is playing in Peoria.

Seven companies with interests in agricultural biotechnology have founded the Biotechnology Research and Development Corp. (BRDC) in Peoria, Ill. The effort was launched by the Agricultural Research and Development Corp. (ARDC) a joint venture of Cilcorp Ventures and the Economic Development Council for the Peoria area to revive a sagging economy.

The consortium's scientific advisory board is now screening proposals for work to be carried out at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Northern Regionul Research Center in Peoria and the University...

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