Government funding makes sense for early pharma research

With debate continuing over what the government's role in funding science should be--the president mentioned it last night in the State of the Union Address and the head of the NIH is pushing a new federally funded center for translational research--Peter Kramer of Princeton Technology Consulting makes a good case in the Drug Delivery Blog. Current funders of basic pharmaceutical research, including drug delivery, are eager for promising research to reach the clinical stage since, of course, that's where the return on investment can be found.

As a result, Kramer writes, "...they are incentivized to abandon otherwise promising research technology at the first sign of a possible clinical compound and refocus their efforts on clinical development."

It's a problem, he writes, since the people who fund basic research need to see some profit as incentive. The solution, then, makes sense. Kramer writes:

"So if the end value of a new drug or delivery technology is there, but the willingness to pay for the early-stage drug discovery and development is not, who can recognize the value to society of the early stage efforts to source compounds as drug candidates? Who is willing to invest in pre-competitive technologies, at an expected loss, for the benefit of others? I propose the government."

- read Kramer's comments in the Drug Delivery Blog