21st Century Cures
U.S. House Passes 21st Century Cures Act; NIH Funding Increase Included
Friday, July 10, 2015 – The U.S. House of Representatives today has passed the 21st Century Cures Act, a large health research bill aimed at speeding the development of new treatments and cures, by a vote of 344–77. The legislation, drafted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, authorizes creation of a new Innovation Fund of $8.6 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $110 million for the Food and Drug Administration over five years. Much of the Innovation Fund is targeted for specific areas including a new Accelerating Advancement Program, research awards tied to a certain project or objectives, awards for innovative scientists and early stage investigators, high-risk high-reward research, research awards to small businesses, and the NIH intramural program. The legislation includes a number of other measures including:
• A new mechanism to speed FDA approval of drugs for limited populations for which there is an unmet medical need, such as resistant pneumonia and sepsis infections and drug resistant TB;
• Increased loan repayment awards for young investigators;
• And creation of a new national pediatric research network consortium focused on rare pediatric disorders and birth defects.
A similar package is being drafted in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee by Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), although it is not expected to be released until late summer to early fall.
As with the letter to the House encouraging passage, the LGDA is a signatory to a letter to the Senate urging passage of the act by that chamber.