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HHS Releases $722M NCATS Budget Plan

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health has reorganized its budget plan for next year to account for the planned addition of a new center focused on translational research and the dissolution of the National Center for Research Resources.

Under the revised budget, NIH's planned National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) would receive $721.6 million, with most of that funding coming from NCRR programs, which would have received $1.3 billion through the original White House budget proposal.

The $553.2 million that the new center would absorb from NCRR includes $479.8 million for the Clinical and Translational Science Awards, $34.4 million for general Clinical Research Resources, $22.5 million for Biotechnology Research Resources, and $16.5 million for Research Management and Support.

The proposal would also move several other programs to NCATS, including $100 million to fund the Cures Acceleration Network to NCATS, $50 million for the Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases Program, and $18.4 million for the Office of Rare Disease Research.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences would gain $343.4 million from NCRR under the new plan, raising its budget to $2.4 billion, because it would add $230.6 million for the Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) program, $96.8 million for the Biotechnology Research Resources program, as well as $12.1 million for Research Infrastructure and $7.3 million for Research management and Support.

In a letter sent last week to Senator Tom Harkin (D – Iowa), Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said the reorganization would still fall within the proposed $31.7 billion budget for NIH for FY 2012.

"NCATS is expected to offer innovative approaches to the development pipeline, provide novel approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics development, stimulate new avenues for basic scientific discovery, and complement existing NIH and private sector research," Sebelius wrote.

A number of programs previously housed at NCRR and totaling $303.3 million under this new proposal would be moved to the Office of the Director, the largest of these being the $199.1 million Comparative Medicine program (including the National Primate Research Centers) and the $60.6 million Shared and High-end Instrumentation program.