The NIH has selected three new proof-of-concept hubs to help speed the translation of basic biomedical discoveries into commercial products, such as new drugs, devices and diagnostics, to improve patient care and enhance health. The hubs are part of the NIH-supported Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hubs (REACH) program and will be funded $9 million over three years.
REACH is based on an initiative created by the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) called the NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovations (NCAI). These centers are a unique public-private partnership whose objective is to change how to identify and develop innovations with scientific and commercial potential. The effort utilizes industry-style project management to arrive at technologies that are poised to launch. With the addition of the REACH, NIH has created a nationwide network of six centers and hubs to develop best practices in translating academic innovations into products to improve health.
The hubs will foster the development of therapeutics, preventatives, diagnostics, devices and tools that address diseases within the NIH’s mission in a manner consistent with business case development. Each hub will provide funding for feasibility studies and coordinated access to expertise in areas required for early stage technology development, including scientific, regulatory, reimbursement, business, legal and project management. In addition, the hubs will provide skills development and hands-on experience in entrepreneurism.
“NIH is committed to ensuring that the American people benefit from the many promising discoveries supported by taxpayers,” said Dr. Kurt Marek, program director for REACH and the deputy director of the Office of Translational Alliances and Coordination, NHLBI. “The REACH program will accelerate the translation of those discoveries into new drugs, devices and diagnostics to help patients and improve public health.”
The REACH program will take advantage of the NCAI’s established infrastructure and relationships, including partnerships with the FDA, the U.S. Patent Office and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The REACHs and NCAIs will work collaboratively, share resources when appropriate and develop best practices that will be made available to the public. To enhance the scope and impact of the NIH investment, each REACH has secured non-federal funding equal to or greater than the NIH award and developed partnerships with other regional public and private organizations.
REACH is a trans-NIH program and will be overseen by a committee with representatives from across the agency. NHLBI will manage the effort due to the institute’s experience with NCAI and to ensure collaboration between the programs.
The new REACH awardees are:
The existing NCAI awardees are: