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Cefic welcomes biotech initiative, setting the stage for future EU biotech act


Cefic welcomes biotech initiative, setting the stage for future EU biotech act

The European Commission's recent communication, 'Building the future with nature: Boosting Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing in the EU,' aptly identifies these technologies as key for addressing the EU's environmental and societal challenges. For Cefic, this initiative could pave the way for an EU Biotechnology Act under the next European Commission mandate, provided it addresses concerns around raw material availability and that it includes all industries using these technologies.

Biotechnology and biomanufacturing, which involve using living organisms to create a variety of products, play a crucial role in the chemical industry and offer many opportunities to develop high performing sustainable products. Their use spans from producing, food and feed additives, pharmaceuticals  to ingredients for household care products, demonstrating their increasing uptake.

Cefic welcomes the Communication's acknowledgement of biotechnology and biomanufacturing's potential to enhance Europe's competitive edge and innovation landscape. The introduction of regulatory sandboxes represents a significant move towards a more adaptable and supportive regulatory framework, which is vital for the progression of biotech innovations.

However, while rightly focusing on the need for increased research and development funding, the Communication overlooks a significant challenge: the availability of large quantities of feedstocks, like biomass for industrial use, which are crucial as primary raw materials for biotechnology-based processes.

Moreover, the issue of higher raw material costs in Europe compared to other regions, such as Brazil or the US pose a competitive disadvantage. As outlined in the Antwerp Declaration for a European Industrial Deal, there is a crucial need to restore competitiveness.

Addressing these challenges requires targeted market pull measures and compensation schemes to alleviate the cost pressures on European biotech firms, making them more competitive globally. These measures should encourage the use of European biomass, reducing our industry's dependence on imports.

In addition, EU policies dealing with the bioeconomy must implement the 'cascading use' principle to ensure that biomass is used where it makes the most environmental, economic and social sense for circularity, value creation and jobs. Equally important is the need to extend support to a broad spectrum of organisations employing biotechnology, including startups, SMEs, and multinational corporations. This reflects the technology's widespread application and potential for innovation across the European economy.

Cefic welcomes this initiative and is ready to engage with all stakeholders to address current challenges and drive innovation to boost biotechnology and biomanufacturing.

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