The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has begun the development of a unique translational research consortium composed of some of the most well renowned top academic health centers (AHC) in the U.S. This is somewhat unique in a research community that has become extremely competitive for NIH grant money.
The 12 initial research centers to be networked into the group received NIH awards totaling around $100 million to fund the project through its first year. The NIH hopes to create a network of 60 AHCs by 2012 receiving a total of $500 million per year.
The push towards research that can quickly translate from the early stages of scientific discoveries into medical applications has been building in both the academic and regulatory communities. One reason for a translational approach to research may be due to the recent slow down in drugs being developed by the pharmaceutical industry. There is little doubt that pharma is aggressively addressing its R&D and market landscape challenges, but it’ll be some time before we see significant progress.
Academic research is painfully expensive. Having the NIH support these kinds of collaborations shows that these agencies understand the issues and are willing to step up to the plate. And for AHCs, grant money in any form, is always welcomed.