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Kathleen Hicks Highlights Biomanufacturing’s Potential to Advance National Security

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Kathleen Hicks, deputy secretary at the Department of Defense and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, said biotechnology and biomanufacturing innovation present transformative opportunities to advance national security efforts.

Speaking at the White House Summit on Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing, Hicks unveiled the Pentagon’s commitment to invest more than $1 billion over the next five years to expand the U.S. bioindustrial manufacturing sector, DOD reported Friday.

“The goal, really, is to help be a key catalyst for a domestic bioindustrial manufacturing base, and more quickly turn basic and applied research into operational prototypes and reliable, reproducible products that can be made at scale,” said Hicks.

In her speech, Hicks said DOD will incentivize industry partners to expand the biotech innovation and manufacturing capacity for critical chemicals for lubricants, energetics and fuels.

The investment comes after President Joe Biden signed an executive order on advancing biotechnology and biomanufacturing innovation in the U.S. to achieve societal goals.

Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering and a fellow 2022 Wash100 Award recipient, said the EO will synchronize efforts across the military and federal government to utilize biotechnology to achieve economic, military and technological advantage.