NIH 'hubs' aid translation

In April, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, launched the NIH Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH) program. The initiative will support proof-of-concept centers, or hubs, through grants of up to $1 million a year for three years. The focus for the REACH hubs, modeled in part on the Innovation Corps program of the National Science Foundation, is on converting research innovations into drugs, devices, vaccines or other products that help meet healthcare needs. Initially, NIH expects to fund three such hubs with a total of $9 million drawn from funds already appropriated to the agency. The program also provides access to expertise in regulatory, reimbursement, business, legal and project management. “That could serve to ensure these innovators are better equipped to advance their research projects and launch the next generation of biotech companies,” says Cartier Esham, executive vice president, Emerging Companies Section for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in Washington, DC. High-level impetus for the NIH program comes from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and its 2012 report on lagging drug development. “These are encouraging signs,” says Garry Neil, who heads R&D at Medgenics in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and whose focus is rare diseases. “But much more needs to be done if we are going to reach the ambitious goals set in the PCAST report.”


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Fox, J. NIH 'hubs' aid translation. Nat Biotechnol 32, 608 (2014).

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