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Bush s 06 NIH Budget Boon for Some Genomic Shops, Hindrance for Others

NEW YORK, Feb. 8 (GenomeWeb News) - President Bush's proposed 2006 NIH budget increase of .7 percent may spur investment in genomics consumables shops such as Cepheid, Illumina, Invitrogen, and Serologicals, but tool makers such as Applied Biosystems are expected to have "ongoing difficulties," according to a Pacific Growth Equities analyst report released today.


The "tepid" budget increase, which Pac Growth quipped is "better than a sharp stick in the eye," spurred the equity research firm to reaffirm its investment position as favorable towards companies "that address downstream development functions, particularly those companies whose product mix skews towards consumables and whose technologies may be leveraged in applied markets."


Pac Growth said that the increase, which if approved would give the NIH a $28.8 billion budget for fiscal year 2006, was in line with its .5-percent estimate. It also said that investors would "view this modest increase ... as a positive for the life sciences sector."


ABI did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.


In a separate statement, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology expressed disappointment in the budget increase, saying in a statement yesterday that the increase was "well below the rate of inflation," and that it was "concerned that the agency will be unable to sustain its current research program.


"The doubling of the NIH budget resulted in a massive amount of new information being generated in every field of biomedical science," FASEB said in its statement. "However, the constrained budget over the past few years has limited NIH's ability to build on these scientific discoveries."


FASEB also welcomed the President's proposed 2.4-percent budget increase for the National Science Foundation, but noted that it would still leave the NSF below its 2004 funding level. According to FASEB, the budget proposal includes a .9-percent increase for the biological directorate.


The NSF received $5.65 billion in funding in 2004; approximately $5.5 billion last year; and is slated to receive about $5.6 billion in funding in 2006, FASEB said. The US government's fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.

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