Lawmakers have warned that a Chinese military biotech company is trying to secretly register subsidiaries in the United States.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang arrive for the closing session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People on March 11, 2024 in Beijing, China. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

One Republican and another Democratic congressman asked President Joe Biden’s administration to add it Seven Chinese biotech companies In a list created by the Department of Defense to publish the companies it claims They allegedly cooperate with the Beijing army.

In a letter dated March 29, the Republican Michael Gallagher and democracy King Krishnamurthy They asked the Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austinto take action, as Beijing can harness the power of biotechnology to bolster its military.

“Urgent Action Needed”The chairman and ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Select Committee – the lawmakers – said the risks China could face “Create Artificial Pathogens” To receive military benefits.

Mike Gallagher speaks and Raja Krishnamurti listens during a science fair in the United States (REUTERS/Reba Saldanha)

In their letter to Austin, the lawmakers added that “(the People’s Republic of China’s) 14th Five-Year Plan identifies the dominance of biotechnology as important to ‘strengthening (China’s) scientific and technological strength’ and calls for deepening scientific cooperation.” Civil technology in the field. “Urgent action is needed to identify the (Chinese) biotech entities at the forefront of this work

The letter is the latest sign of growing concern in Washington about the Chinese biotech sector. Congress is considering legislation to bar federal agencies from contracting with Chinese companies BGI Group and WuXi AppTec, as part of an effort to prevent China from accessing Americans’ genetic data and personal health information.

In late February, US intelligence services informed senators working on the bill that Chinese pharmaceutical company WuXi AppTec ( 603259.SS ) had transferred US intellectual property to Beijing without their consent, Reuters reported.

Inclusion on the Pentagon’s list of Chinese companies with military support does not mean an immediate ban. However, it could be a serious blow to the companies’ reputation and represents a warning to US companies considering doing business with them. It can also pressure the Treasury Department to approve them.

In their letter, Gallagher and Krishnamurthy called for the addition of Enomics and Stomics, which they claim are subsidiaries of the BGI Group, to the list in 2022.

Lawmakers have put together a list of companies “deserving consideration for inclusion on the 1260H list”:

  • “MGI Group and Complete Genomics: MGI Group and Complete Genomics are subsidiaries of BGI, a company linked to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), implicated in human rights abuses and illegal collection of genetic data, and which have already been listed. Department of Defense 1260H list. MGI uses Whole Genomics in the US market to compete, often hiding Whole Genomics’ relationships with MGI, BGI, and PCC. As direct subsidiaries of BGI, MGI and Complete Genomics should be added to the 1260H list without delay.”
  • “Enomics and Stomics: Enomics and Stomics are subsidiaries of BGI, an EPL-affiliated company operating in the United States. According to corporate documents, Enomics was recently registered to do business in the state of Kentucky under the name ‘BGI America Corporation’ and shares the same ‘attorney of record’ as BGI with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Enomics’ website does not mention its affiliation with BGI or MGI, but its sales materials for genetic sequencing reference product codes for machines manufactured by BGI, MGI, and subsidiaries of Complete Genomics. STOmics, a similarly situated affiliate, does not mention its relationship with BGI on its English website, but STOmics’ Mandarin Chinese website proudly identifies it as a BGI affiliate. The STOmics English website links it to MGI and Complete Genomics, which are also subsidiaries of BGI.”
  • “Origincell: Origincell operates a network of cell banks and biostorage technologies with links to EPL and PCC. Originalsel was the main supplier of a civil-military fusion project to build a biological sample storage bank, and the company has hosted officials from the CCP’s United Front Work Department at its headquarters. OriginalCell has also organized a workshop for academicians of the People’s Liberation Army National Defense University.”
  • “Vazime Biotech: Vazime Biotech is a world leader in the design and manufacture of bioactive compounds. Vazyme’s investors include ‘Military Index Securities Fund’, ‘Defence-Military Industry Hybrid Securities Investment Fund’, ‘China Securities Military-Industrial Securities Investment Fund’ and 12 other funds. Investment companies associated with EPL. In 2022, the Propaganda Department of the Jiangsu Branch of the CCP awarded Vazyme chairman Cao Lin an award for his work in science and technology. After receiving the award, Cao Lin announced that the 20th CPC National Congress would focus on science and technology. “The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has designated Vazyme as a ‘Little Giant’ in a pledge of state support to the company.”
  • “Axbio: Axbio is dedicated to the research and development of next-generation genetic sequencing tools and smart biochips. It is directly financed, in part, by the China State Development and Investment Corporation. Axbio maintains worrisome ties to Russian institutions, such as the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Research Center for Medical Genetics. “Axbio has also been frequently linked to EPL-affiliated company BGI.”

(With information from Reuters)

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