Six local biotech leaders join group of 160 opposing Trump travel ban

Six local biotech executives and 160 other industry leaders nationwide have signed a letter opposing the Trump administration’s travel ban.

The ban could stunt the country’s biotech industry and “slow the fight against the many diseases that afflict us,” the letter reads.

The president’s executive order, temporarily stopping all refugees as well as citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S., has faced increasingly sharp criticism from the business world, and medical industries. Talented people come from all over the world, business leaders have said, and denying them entry threatens innovation in the U.S.

cites a study that found 52 percent of biomedical researchers in the country were born in foreign countries.

“They are colleagues in our laboratories, management teams and boardrooms,” it states. “They discover and develop therapies that drive U.S. biomedical innovation and deliver new medicines to patients, not only in America, but also across the globe.”

The letter was signed by 166 executives, including Seattle-area executives Eric Dobmeier and Clay Siegall from Seattle Genetics, Chad Robins and Diego Miralles of Adaptive Biotechnologies, H. Stewart Parker of Parker BioConsulting and Heather Franklin of Blaze Bioscience.

The ban’s impact extends beyond the seven countries it explicitly names, the letter argues, adding that biotech employees across the world now feel immigrants from anywhere are unwelcome in the U.S. and they fear discrimination.

The executives said the order could threaten the country’s standing as the global leader in biotech.

“At a stroke, the new administration has compromised years of investment in this national treasure,” the letter from biotech leaders said.

The immigration ban was by a federal judge in Seattle last week. The Trump administration is and Tuesday at 3 p.m.