Fresh off its successes in the green-energy patch, the Obama team is turning its investment skills to the life sciences. Last Friday, President Obama announced his intention to increase the federal government’s involvement in the business of biotechnology.
His plan is for a new federal center inside the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that would be focused on the development and commercialization of new drugs. The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) would engage in early drug-development work, eventually handing off programs to private companies for completion. In return, the government would take a guaranteed royalty stream on drugs that eventually made it to market. The center would get its seed money by tapping other NIH programs. Longer term, the administration’s plan is to provide billions in dedicated federal funding to the new drug center.
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