The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Tag Archives: NIH

U.S. Stimulus Stimulates Health Care and Academic Jobs

The NPR Health Blog reports that in the cloud of U.S. unemployment numbers (pdf) there is a high-tech silver lining: the health care and education sectors actually added about 52,000 jobs in August.  It cites examples from a Boston Globe article that highlights stimulus-stimulated activity in Massachusetts research labs.

Also note this piece at GenomeWeb, which quotes Leerink Swann analyst Isaac Ro, who includes “stimulus funding” as one of the “theme[s]” justifying a higher target and rating for Millipore (NYSE: MIL).

Check out the birds’ eye view of NIH ARRA grants and zoom and click to get all the details for your favo(u)rite institution.

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A Big Week for Confirmations: Sotomayor, Collins, Kappos Movin’ on Up

Francis Collins Nominated to be NIH’s Next Director

NIH LogoOver to you, White House press release:

“President Obama said, ‘The National Institutes of Health stands as a model when it comes to science and research. My administration is committed to promoting scientific integrity and pioneering scientific research and I am confident that Dr. Francis Collins will lead the NIH to achieve these goals. Dr. Collins is one of the top scientists in the world, and his groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease. I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.'”

Bonus: See this very well-timed (if not very optimistic) piece in Nature News today on the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the CF gene (by Collins and Lap-Chee Tsui, the latter then at Sick Kids in Toronto).

Bonus #2 — Three Degrees of Francis Collins: I did my Ph.D. in Doug Bishop’s lab. Doug did his post-doc in Nancy Kleckner’s lab. Nancy and Francis Collins were elected to the National Academy of Sciences together in 1993. Ta da! Your turn…

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Stimulus Funding from NIH!

On Wednesday the National Institutes of Health published its Request for Applications (RFA), allocating $200 million provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The deadline for submissions is April 27, and requests for funding cannot exceed $1 million over two years. Applications must come from U.S. institutions and organizations, but  there are no apparent restrictions on sourcing technology from non-U.S. partners.

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More Money: House of Representatives Release 2009 Spending Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee unveiled its Omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2009 yesterday (pdf). The House is expected to vote on the package this week. For Health and Human Services, the Ombnibus contains $30 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This funding is in addition to the $10 billion added to NIH in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Omnibus also includes a new initiative to reduce hospital and clinic infections that cause nearly 100,000 deaths each year, and requires national and state plans to combat infections with $22 million.

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NIH Stimulus Spending

Some good info from ScienceInsider about how NIH is planning to allocate the stimulus money.  It looks like the vast majority will go to existing grants and already-submitted applications.

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U.S. Stimulus Compromise (Updated)

Initial reporting (NYT, WSJ) on the bill coming out of the House-Senate conference committee this evening indicates that the $789 billion package will include most of the Bio-related provisions:

Update 10am: More details from ScienceInsider based on Pelosi’s fact sheet:

  • The Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which supports US physical science, will receive $1.6 billion.
  • $400 million will be provided to fund a new mini agency within DOE called the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy. Obama’s energy secretary, Steve Chu, is a fan. Now congress has bestowed their blessing — and big money –on his dream energy program.
  • NASA will get $1 billion including $400 million for climate change research.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology will receive $580 million.
  • The National Science Foundation would receive the full $3 billion increase that the House had passed last month. That’s a 50% boost to its $6 billion budget. The breakdown of that number is not clear, but the House version contained $2 billion more for research grants; $900 million for three infrastructure programs, including a revived $200 million extramural facilities competition; and $100 million for two education programs.

Update 5pm:

  • The $3 billion in NSF funding breaks down as follows: $2.5 billion for research (peer-reviewed proposals); $100 million for the university research instrumentation program; and $400 million for national labs.
  • The NIST money is for infrastructure: $220 million for lab equipment and $360 million for facilities.
  • USDA gets $850 million for infrastructure.
  • NOAA gets $600 million for facilities and equipment.

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Senate Stimulus: Good and Bad Outcomes for Funding Biotech

The latest Senate deal provides an extra $6.5 billion to NIH, amounting to $10 billion for biomedical research but also to improve research infrastructure in NIH facilities. According to Senator Arlen Specter, Ranking Republican on the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, the monies would be divvied up among NIH agencies in amounts proportional to their fiscal year 2008 funding. He said that economists estimate that the additional funds could lead to 70,000 new jobs in the health industry over two years.

The latest Senate stimulus deal cuts $870 million for pandemic influenza preparedness efforts. This funding was largely set aside for advanced development of novel vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. This is quite different from the earlier stage work that would be funded through NIH. I have heard that the funding would not only fund development efforts for flu, but also allow Health and Human Services to support other advanced development programs, namely for biodefense.

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Dare We Compare?

Bailout Bonanza!!

bailout-pic1With every industry under the sun seeking bailout money, Biotech is not about to be left out. And with a record number of biotech companies with less than 6 months’ cash in the bank, there is good reason to fear that promising ideas could be lost before the credit markets thaw. There are, however, an abundance of views on what form help for the industry should take.

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