Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) is the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) legislator of the year, the industry trade group said Wednesday.

“Senator Burr had a long track record of able representation of life science research on behalf of North Carolinians during his 10-year tenure in the House of Representatives,” said Peter Young, chief executive officer of AlphaVax and chairman of the board of the NC Biosciences Organization (NCBIO).

“In the Senate, he has moved quickly and energetically to exert leadership in the Senate on biodefense and health care issues broadly,” Young added. “”He works thoughtfully and tirelessly to ensure that new lifesaving medical products will be available to protect us from the future threat of bioterrorism or a pandemic, as well as to improve our nation’s health care system.”

Burr is in his first term as senator.

“As Chairman of the HELP Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health preparedness, Senator Burr led the Senate effort to protect our nation against the threat of bioterrorism and pandemic influenza,” BIO President Jim Greenwood said in a statement. Citing Burr’s role in the 2005 passage of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, Greenwood added: “(A)s a result of Sen. Burr’s tireless work on these important issues, many biotechnology companies are now able to aggressively focus their next- generation technology and cutting edge R&D on preparing for, and responding to, very serious threats to America’s public health security. Our nation is, and will continue to be, safer and healthier because of Sen. Burr’s leadership.”