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Friday, Jun 21, 2024
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SDBJ Insider

Biotech, Defense Converge at BIO

Biotechnology Innovation Organization held its annual BIO International Convention in San Diego last week, drawing 19,000 life science leaders from around the world to the San Diego Convention Center.

BIO President and CEO John Crowley hosted two highlight presentations on June 5 that converged two of San Diego’s mainstay industries – life science and defense. Crowley sat down with keynote speaker U.S. Navy Ret. Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of the SEAL mission to capture Osama bin Laden. McRaven shared insights to effective leadership and overcoming adversity – such as his skydiving accident in San Diego that broke his pelvis. He also touched on security threats in Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, saying that escalation in any of those areas could cause major disruptions to industry supply lines.

Crowley also held a discussion with National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology Chair and Ginko Bioworks CEO Jason Kelly that focused on looking at biotech from a national security standpoint. Kelly described biotech as “truly more powerful than electronics” and because of its importance and power, 70% of the commission’s work is supporting a biotech version of the CHIPS Act, which provided hundreds of billions of dollars to the U.S. technology sector. The commission is expected to release a report in six months, he said.

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San Diego-based autonomous driving truck developer TuSimple reached a settlement agreement with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. TuSimple was under CIFUS scrutiny for temporary vacancies in the company’s security director position and its board’s government security committee, and whether intellectual property was transferred contrary to the national security agreement.

In December of last year, TuSimple announced it was winding down its U.S. operations.

Following the announcement, shareholders filed a lawsuit to block the company from sharing IP outside the U.S. In January, a federal judge blocked TuSimple leaders from transferring trade secrets or proceeds from any sales of technology to people outside the U.S.

In the settlement reached with CIFUS, TuSimple did not admit to wrongdoing. CEO Cheng Lu said the resolution allows the company “to better focus on implementing our next stage of development.”

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Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration awarded San Diego International Airport $23.5 million in discretionary grant funds as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Airport Infrastructure Grants program to help fund completion of SAN’s New Terminal 1 project. It is the second largest grant award by the FAA in this round of funding, the program’s sixth.

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