Ther Innov Regul Sci. 2022 Sep 3. doi: 10.1007/s43441-022-00451-8. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: There remains ongoing debate regarding the relative efficacy of public (NIH) and private sector funding in bringing biopharmaceutical innovations to market. This paper investigates the significance of each party’s level of funding for obtaining Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization.
METHODS: A cohort of research projects linked to 23,230 National Institute of Health grants awarded in the year 2000 was audited to account for patents, where the project led to a product in clinical development and potentially FDA approval. A total of 8126 associated patents led to the identification of 41 therapies that registered clinical trials; 18 of these therapies received FDA approved.
RESULTS: NIH funding for the 18 FDA-approved therapies totaled $0.670 billion, whereas private sector funding (excluding post-approval funding) totaled $44.3 billion. A logistic regression relating the levels of public and private funding to the probability of FDA approval indicates a positive and significant relationship between private sector funding and the likelihood of FDA approval (p ≤ 0.0004). The relationship between public funding and the likelihood of FDA approval is found to be negative and not statistically significant.
CONCLUSION: Our study results underscore that the development of basic discoveries requires substantial additional investments, partnerships, and the shouldering of financial risk by the private sector if therapies are to materialize as FDA-approved medicine. Our finding of a potentially negative relationship between public funding and the likelihood that a therapy receives FDA approval requires additional study.