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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides significant funding for drug development research. Across the Pharm Country Hotbed, the agency has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to universities, research institutes and pharmaceutical companies.
In 2020, the four top Pharm Country recipients of NIH funding were university systems. These four universities received more than $2 billion in NIH funds. University of Pennsylvania received $593,605,914; University of Pittsburgh received $570,146,095; Columbia University Health Sciences received $558,628,098 in funding; and Yale University received $550,947,887 from the NIH.
While universities received the lion’s share of NIH funding in Pharm Country, a number of pharmaceutical companies also secured financial support from the agency. Here’s a look at the Top 10 biopharma companies in Pharm Country that received NIH funding in 2020:
NIH Funding: $31,493,555
Cognition Therapeutics is a clinical-stage neuroscience company developing drugs that treat neurodegenerative disorders by regulating cellular damage response pathways. Its pipeline compounds target the σ-2 receptor, a key regulator of the cellular damage response. The company’s lead product candidate is CT1812, which is currently in a Phase II study in Alzheimer’s disease.
In February, the company published a paper in the Journal of Neuroscience Research evidence that identifies the sigma-2 (σ-2) receptor as integral in the pathology of Parkinson’s disease. The data supports the hypothesis that σ-2 receptor antagonists could represent a unique therapeutic approach to treating some of the underlying disease pathology in Parkinson’s disease and potentially other related diseases like dementia with Lewy bodies, the company said.
Location: Malvern, PA
NIH Funding: $11,323,283
Privately-held Venatorx Pharmaceuticals is focused on improving health outcomes for patients with multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections and hard-to-treat viral infections. The company’s lead developmental product is VNRX-5133 (Cefepime-Taniborbactam), beta-lactamase inhibitor that inhibits both serine- and metallo-beta-lactamases. It is currently in Phase III studies in patients with complicated urinary tract infections (cUTIs). Venatorx believes the asset has the potential to meet unmet medical needs in patients with infections due to carbapenem-resistant pathogens including carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) and carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPA), among others.
Location: Paramus, NJ
NIH funding: $8,428,162
PsychoGenics is a contract research organization with focus on CNS disorders. PsychoGenics provides a full complement of partnered drug discovery capabilities with a focus on psychiatric, cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders, pain, inflammation, spinal cord and traumatic brain injury. The company’s mission is to provide validated disease models and comprehensive preclinical capabilities that help companies develop next-generation treatments for severely disabling CNS and orphan disorders.
Location: Princeton, NJ
NIH funding: $7,001,002
Founded in 1982 Theradex Systems is a full-service contract research organization that conducts early- to late-stage oncology trials. The company’s mission is to assure that new discoveries in cancer drug development have the very best opportunity to be of benefit to mankind with a vision to improve treatment and make cancer a livable disease. The company conducts oncology trials across the United States, Europe and Asia.
Location: Clifton Park, NY
NIH funding: $5,161,939
Founded in 1998, Kitware Inc. focuses on the development of innovative open source software platforms and integrating them into research, processes and products. The company provides advanced technical computing, state-of-the-art AI, and full-spectrum software solutions to its partner companies. The company’s core areas of expertise include computer vision, data and analytics, scientific computing, medical computing, and software process. Kitware provides expertise in these areas through customization services, support, collaborative research and development, training, and books.
NIH funding: $4,873,201
Integral Molecular is a research-driven biotechnology company creating innovative technologies and therapeutic antibodies for under-exploited membrane protein targets, including GPCRs, ion channels, transporters and viral envelopes. The membrane proteins are seen as an important group of drug targets found on the surfaces of cells and viruses. The company’s technologies have been integrated into the drug discovery pipelines of over 300 biotech and pharmaceutical companies to help discover new therapies for cancer, diabetes, auto-immune disorders and viral threats such as SARS-CoV-2, Ebola, Zika and dengue virus.
NIH funding: $4,093,577
Actuated Medical was founded in 2006. The company uses electronically controlled motion to develop devices for research and clinical use. Their devices solve unmet clinical needs in target markets, such as gastroenterology, oncology, critical care and pediatrics. Earlier this year, Actuated Medical was accepted as U.S. Small Business Administration 2020 Tibbetts Award Winner. Winners are selected by a panel of judges based on the economic impact of their technological innovation, how they supported federal research and development needs, and their ability to increase commercialization of federal research.
Location: Princeton, NJ
NIH funding: $4,023,155
Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc., an indirect subsidiary of Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., is dedicated to clinical development of promising drug candidates and services in mental health, oncology, cardio-renal, nephrology and digital health. Other activities include strategic planning for drug approval, marketing, and lifecycle management to maximize a product’s full potential. Last year the company announced positive results from Phase III studies of oral centanafadine, a novel investigational compound for the treatment of adult patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Location: White Plains, NY
NIH funding: $3,406,711
Oligomerix is an emerging biotechnology company focused on developing disease-modifying therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases characterized by aberrant tau protein ranging from rare tauopathies such as progressive supranuclear palsy and frontotemporal dementia to Alzheimer’s disease. Oligomerix’s lead candidate is a small molecule inhibitor of tau self-association and targets the beginning of the tau aggregation cascade. Other companies have focused on targeting large tau aggregates formed downstream.
Last year, the company relocated its headquarters to White Plains to accommodate growth and continue the expansion of research and development operations.
Location: Bethlehem PA
NIH funding: $3,190,881
Azevan Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage, small molecule drug development company developing novel therapeutics to treat stress-related CNS disorders and neurodegenerative conditions. Its clinical compounds are designed to selectively block the effects of arginine vasopressin, a peptide neurohormone involved in the pathophysiology of multiple disorders, including neuropsychiatric symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and PTSD. The company completed two Phase II clinical trials in adults with its lead compound, SRX246, for the treatment of Intermittent Explosive Disorder and for the treatment of irritability of Huntington’s disease.
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