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Making it to market

Have federal funds been a boon to the science of fighting terror?

Peg Brickley(pegbrickley@hotmail.com)

Like many modern wars, the war against terrorism was expected to infuse new cash into the life sciences, spawning new products and spurring refinements of existing technology to meet demand for efficient bio-detection devices and reliable vaccines.

But the year since 9-11 has seen a series of disappointments and no significant shortening of the risky path to market for new life sciences technologies.

"There's always a time lag between the point when Congress says they're throwing money at a problem and the time we see a stimulating effect," says Brent Ericksen, vice president of the industrial and environmental unit of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in Washington. "It's a mini-surge, so far."

As early as November 2001, BIO began lobbying against barriers that keep new ideas from getting off the laboratory bench and onto the market. The industry group is pushing for long-term contracts, price supports and indemnification — government...

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