By Kris Herbst
Contributing Editor

WASHINGTON - A senior administration official has confirmed that the White House has all but rejected mandatory price controls from its health care plan, and also is preparing to move forward with a new biotechnology research funding program.

Greg Simon, chief domestic policy advisor to Vice President Gore, provided perhaps the first for-the-record statement by a high-level Clinton administration member that the president is leaning toward voluntary drug price restraints.

"I haven't seen the final document, but I think that it is very likely that the recent statements about (price controls) are correct - that they will be voluntary rather than mandatory," Simon told BioCentury.

Stocks rebound

Simon's comments Friday capped a week of brightening prospects for the biotech sector as a series of statements attributed to unnamed administration officials made clear