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Lisa J. Raines

Lisa J. Raines, 42, told colleagues that week that she had to make a grueling one-day trip to California. But she assured them she’d be back in Washington in time for meetings on Capitol Hill. She died when her plane to Los Angeles crashed into the Pentagon.

Raines, of Great Falls, was senior vice president of government relations at Genzyme Corporation, a major Boston biotechnology company. She had worked in the Washington area for many years and was respected on Capitol Hill for her knowledge of healthcare issues.

Current and former Hill aides described her as a key figure in negotiating legislative compromises in several drug and healthcare disputes, including a 1997 bill that modernized the Food and Drug Administration. She championed “fast track” legislation that permitted the FDA to grant speedier access to some new drugs.

For the last year, Raines had worked to get her industry to support the idea of Medicare drug coverage for the elderly. When she died, she was on her way to meet company sales representatives handling Renagel, a vital drug for many kidney dialysis patients.

Nick Littlefield, a former chief of staff for Senator Edward M. Kennedy (Democrat-Massachusetts), recalled her role as a trusted broker between the biotechnology industry and factions on Capitol Hill.

“She would call me every night about how we could get this thing moved around. Why couldn’t I be more flexible, and if I could, she could get [the industry] to be more flexible,” Littlefield said.

Raines was married to Steve Push, head of investor and media relations for IGEN International Inc., of Gaithersburg. Testifying before Congress last year in a controversy over gene therapy tests, she said, “I would like to begin by noting that there is no such thing as absolute safety, either in clinical trials or in life itself.”

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