WASHINGTON - The Biotechnology Industry Organization has signaled its intent to become a heavyweight contestant in the regulatory arena by hiring one of Washington's most experienced FDA attorneys, Stephan Lawton, to become the organization's top lawyer.

Lawton, currently at the Washington law firm Hogan & Hartson LLP, was already working for BIO, as well as many of its member companies, when he was asked to join the trade association as vice president of regulatory affairs and general counsel. His client roster has included Amgen Inc. (AMGN), Aviron (AVIR), Biogen Inc. (BGEN), Centocor Inc., Genentech Inc. (DNA), and Genzyme Corp. and a number of emerging companies.