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Greenwood Named President of Biotechnology Association

The Biotechnology Industry Organization has hired retiring Rep. James Greenwood (R-Pa.) to serve as the head of Washington lobbying operations for the nation’s growing biotechnology sector, the trade group announced this afternoon.

Greenwood said this afternoon that he is withdrawing his name from the ballot in November and will take over at BIO in January. He will remain in Congress through his current term.

“After a comprehensive search from a pool of top-level candidates, Jim Greenwood was the board of directors’ unanimous choice to lead BIO because of his commitment to improving people’s lives through science and technology and his personal leadership skills,” said Richard Pops, chairman of the trade organization.

The move comes just a few days after Roll Call reported that Greenwood was considering stepping down from Congress at the end of the year to accept a lucrative lobbying job.

The post is expected to come with a seven-figure salary and will make the moderate Republican into the face of the rapidly expanding biotechnology industry.

“Given my seniority in Congress, and my role on the Energy and Commerce Committee, had virtually any other organization approached me, I would have politely declined to interview,” Greenwood said. “However, I passionately believe in the promise of biotechnology to find cures and treatments for the diseases that force parents to watch their children suffer and die, and children to endure their parents’ disintegration into the clutches of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.”

In his retirement announcement this afternoon, Greenwood said: “I would have preferred that the timing of this change could have occurred at a point in the election cycle in which I were not a candidate.”

But Greenwood said that the upcoming departure of BIO’s current president required him to make a decision sooner than he would have liked.

“It would not have been ethical for me to remain on the ballot and resign after the election without disclosing this matter publicly,” he said.

Greenwood replaces Carl Feldbaum who decided to leave the trade association after serving as its president since its founding a decade ago.

Feldbaum, like Greenwood, has deep roots in Pennsylvania: He served as chief of staff to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) before joining BIO in 1993.

Greenwood’s departure from the House is a mixed blessing for the chamber’s more conservative Republican leaders. And yet, though Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) feuded often with the Pennsylvania centrist, Greenwood would have been a shoo-in for re-election.

Since rumors of Greenwood’s departure began circulating on Capitol Hill on Monday, two Republican candidates have emerged to try to claim his seat.

On Tuesday, Greenwood himself ushered around his hand-picked successor, state Sen. Joe Conti.

However, more conservative Pennsylvania Republicans, including Senate Republican Conference Chairman Rick Santorum, support the more conservative candidate, Bucks County Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats appear to be rallying behind Ginny Schrader, who prevailed in April’s primary to take on Greenwood.