A recent executive order signed Sept. 12 by President Joe Biden aims to bolster the U.S. biotechnology sector, including alternative proteins.

Under administrative agency guidance outlined in the executive order — dubbed the National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative — the Biden Administration’s policy aims to coordinate a multiple-agency approach to advance biotechnology and biomanufacturing toward innovative solutions across multiple sectors of the U.S. economy, including food security, agriculture and supply chain resilience.

Biden’s executive order notes that while biotechnology and biomanufacturing in the U.S. are largely focused on human health advancements, innovations in the sector hold potential to improve food security and sustainability as well as helping secure food supply chains.

From the executive order: “For biotechnology and biomanufacturing to help us achieve our societal goals, the United States needs to invest in foundational scientific capabilities. We need to develop genetic engineering technologies and techniques to be able to write circuitry for cells and predictably program biology in the same way in which we write software and program computers; unlock the power of biological data, including through computing tools and artificial intelligence; and advance the science of scale‑up production while reducing the obstacles for commercialization so that innovative technologies and products can reach markets faster.”

To realize these objectives, the Administration’s National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative policy seeks to:

  • bolster and coordinate federal investment in key research and development areas of biotechnology and biomanufacturing
  • improve and expand domestic biomanufacturing production capacity and processes, while also increasing piloting and prototyping efforts in biotechnology and biomanufacturing to accelerate the translation of basic research results into practice
  • boost sustainable biomass production and create climate-smart incentives for U.S. agricultural producers
  • and expand market opportunities for bioenergy and biobased products and services.

As part of the initiative, the secretary of agriculture will consult with the heads of relevant federal agencies to submit a report assessing how to use biotechnology and biomanufacturing to power food and agriculture innovation, including:

  • improving sustainability and land conservation
  • increasing food quality and nutrition
  • increasing and protecting agricultural yields
  • protecting against animal diseases
  • and cultivating alternative food sources.