Seeking Innovation: Incentive Funding for Biodefense Biotechs

12.01.2010 | Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science

Seeking Innovation: Incentive Funding for Biodefense Biotechs
By John Nolan, Emad Samad, Lawrence Jindra, and Steve Brozak

In the current venture capital climate, it is easier to secure funding for late-stage, next-in-class therapeutic agents than for early-stage opportunities that have the potential to advance basic science and translational medicine. This funding paradigm is particularly problematic for the development of “dual-use” biothreat countermeasures such as antibiotics, vaccines, and antitoxins that target pathogens in novel ways and that have broad public health and biodefense applications. To address this issue, we propose the creation of the Drug Development Incentive Fund (DDIF), a novel funding mechanism that can stimulate the development of first-in-class agents that also possess the capability to guard against potential biothreats. This program would also support greater synergies between public funding and private venture investment. In a single act, this organization would secure science of national importance from disappearing, invest in projects that yield significant public health returns, advance the promises of preclinical and early phase research, revitalize biopharmaceutical investment, and create valuable innovation-economy jobs.

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