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The Food and Drug Administration in September joined the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research, a consortium of seven federal agencies working in concert at Fort Detrick, Md., to secure the health and wellbeing of the nation through cutting-edge research, information sharing and technological innovation.

The NICBR's board of directors formalized the FDA's membership to the interagency consortium during a Sept. 19 meeting held in Washington, DC.

"I am happy to welcome an eighth federal partner to our interagency confederation," said Lieutenant General Patricia Horoho, Army Surgeon General and chair of the NICBR board of directors. "The FDA's membership will bring additional synergy to the NICBR, which will ultimately lead to a healthier and more secure Nation."

Dr. Jesse Goodman, FDA Chief Scientist, added that FDA's regulatory science program would benefit from the opportunity to leverage all available scientific and technological resources. "We look forward to partnering with the members of the NICBR and exploring new opportunities for working with stakeholders to develop innovative technologies and address challenges that will improve public health and our nation's security."

FDA's Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats will serve as liaison to the NICBR, furthering one of the original goals of the FDA Medical Countermeasures initiative-- namely, the expansion of scientific and technological collaborations with federal partners to support the development and availability of drugs, vaccines, diagnostic devices and other equipment necessary to counter chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents, as well as emerging infectious disease threats.

Established April 22, 2003, the NICBR is a consortium of agencies from four cabinet-level departments: Defense, Homeland Security, Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Some of the agencies operate research facilities located at Ft. Detrick, Md. Each has distinct but complementary research missions and capabilities. The NICBR facilitates interagency cooperation in areas of mutual interest, encouraging collaboration across scientific disciplines and facilitating sharing of technical expertise, scientific services, best-management practices and certain infrastructure.

The FDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.