Last week I wrote post about FDA playing bigger role in disseminating research results to spur progress with rare diseases. Yesterday, Fierce Biotech published a story stating the Francis Collins of the NIH wants Congress to set aside a $500 M fund that would allow the NIH to back up to $15 M trials in biotechs pursuing rare disease indications.
This would represent a shift in emphasis from support of basic research toward more applied research - an innovation! It also represents a possible new source of trial funding for the cash-strapped small biotechs who really lack as much access to capital as they once had. Collins goal is to secure funding for up to 20 new entitites.
Some in the more basic research camp are concerned that this shift in emphasis will rob Peter to pay Paul. But, I think it makes good sense to try to capitalize on research that has already resulted in a discovery and attempt to make it more commercially viable. One big gap now is sufficient funding for small biotechs to take their drugs through early clinical stages - a necessary step to secure either Big Pharma funding or a direct buy out from Big Pharma. This could serve to help this along and is targeted to neglected disease areas so serves an additional good purpose to increase development in those areas known to be deficient now.
I hope the program secures funding so it can be tried.
Posted by Bruce Lehr July 9th 2010.