Tuesday, November 16, 2010

HHS Releases Awards for Biotech Programs Funded Through Healthcare Reform Act

Adam M. Clark, Director, Scientific and Federal Affairs
The Department of Health and Human Services recently released approximately $1 billion in funds through a new program called the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project (QTDP). Included as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as the Healthcare Reform Law), QTDP is unlike traditional NIH peer-reviewed projects as it uses an expedited review process to fund small biotechnology companies producing potential products in the biomedical pipeline. It specifically directs funding to companies developing products that will treat unmet medical needs, reduce long term health care costs, or advance the goal of curing cancer within 30 years.

Approximately 3000 companies from 47 states and the District of Columbia received funding through the program through either tax credits or grants, with California topping the list with nearly $300 million in awards followed by Massachusetts with $125 million. Projects ranged across the spectrum of diseases including approximately 30 research programs in Parkinson’s disease, 60 in Alzheimer’s, 80 in diabetes, and more than 100 in cancers.

Quantifying the impact of this funding on the medical research paradigm will be challenging to measure in the short-term. Here’s hoping that this funding boost will provide financial incentives for small biotech companies to pursue development of much needed therapeutics, and spur greater efforts that will accelerate translation of scientific discovery into clinical products.

At FasterCures, we firmly believe that patients need results-oriented research that may be high-risk but with the potential of high rewards, similar to those supported by this new effort. After all, the real value of our national investment in scientific discovery should be measured in terms of improved patient outcomes: better health, improved quality of life, and overall wellness.

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