Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Incentivizing Earlier Investment in NHLBI-Funded Technologies

How might NHLBI assist its awardees to attract private sector funding or partnerships earlier in the product development process to help bridge the gap between academic discoveries and product commercialization?

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Attracting private sector support earlier in the development pipeline would help fill an important funding gap between academic discoveries and product commercialization, enabling products to reach patients more quickly, and improving the return on NHLBI’s investments in basic research.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Some existing initiatives such as the SBIR Phase IIB Bridge and Small Market Awards encourage non-federal investors to invest earlier in NHLBI-funded technologies. In addition, the NCAI is designed to support critical feasibility studies and business case development to de-risk earlier investment by the private sector. These efforts are showing early signs of success, but impact only a small proportion of NHLBI-funded basic research discoveries.

Estimates for the cost of developing a new drug or device range from the hundreds of millions to billions of dollars and 10-15 years to get from the lab to the patient. The NHLBI cannot fully support that development, so private sector support is critical for biomedical technologies to be commercialized. Overall private capital investment in the life sciences is increasing, but it is not being targeted at heart, lung, blood, and sleep technologies or at the seed stage of development. Venture capital investment in heart, lung, blood, and sleep technologies has declined or remained stagnant since 2008 (http://graphics.wsj.com/venture-capital-and-the-human-body/) and seed stage investment from the private sector for early stage high-risk projects is in short supply (PWC Moneytree: https://www.pwcmoneytree.com/HistoricTrends/CustomQueryHistoricTrend).

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Idea No. 60