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IRS Healthcare Grants Program Funds 'Omics Research

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Internal Revenue Service has awarded $1 billion in grants and tax credits to a large number of small biomedical companies, including 'omics-based tool firms and molecular diagnostic companies, using funds provided through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Working in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services, the IRS's Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Projects (QTDP) program has provided funding and credits to a range of firms, such as High Throughput Genomics, DNA Medicine, Health Discovery, Provista Life Sciences, Quanterix, the DNA Medicine Institute, On-Q-Ity, Empire Genomics, and a number of other 'omics companies.

Earlier this week, GenomeWeb Daily News had reported that Exact Sciences, Pressure Biosciences, Micronics were among the firms who had won grants under the program.

The ACA program was designed to provide grants and credits to companies with technologies that "show significant potential to produce new and cost-saving therapies, support US jobs, and increase US competitiveness," according to the IRS.

The QTDP grants and credits were awarded in late October and provide support for fiscal years 2009 and 2010.

They are supposed to fund development of small businesses with technologies that may result in new therapies for unmet medical problems, to prevent, detect, or treat chronic or acute diseases and conditions. Other aims of the program include advancing the goal of curing cancer within 30 years, and reducing the long-term growth of healthcare costs in the US.

Among the grants announced by the IRS, Cambridge, Mass.-based Quanterix won $730,000 to continue development of its next-generation diagnostics platform in programs focused on developing clinical diagnostic tests for prostate cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and Crohn's disease. Empire Genomics of Buffalo, NY, reeled in $240,000 to fund a molecular diagnostic test for bladder cancer. And Complete Genomics got $245,000 to support its complete human genome sequencing efforts.

Molecular Detection won a $240,000 grant to fund validation trials of its MRSA screening panel. The Wayne, Pa.-based company said its qualitative PCR in vitro diagnostic test is already marketed in the EU and Australia and is in development in the US.

"These new federal funds will enable us to further accelerate the clinical program, with the goal of bringing the advantages of our Detect-Ready MRSA panel to the US healthcare system in 2011." MDI's CEO and Chairman, Todd Wallach, said in a statement from the company today.

Health Discovery Corp. of Savannah, Ga., also won a $240,000 grant to support development of its diagnostic testing programs, which include new diagnostic tests for prostate cancer and breast cancer.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based personalized medicine company Existence Genetics, which is developing gene chip technologies that can screen for hundreds of potential disease predispositions at a single time, won a grant of $157,000.

High Throughput Genomics of Tucson, Ariz., won grants for 10 projects to be funded over both years of the QTDP program. Included among those are $190,000 to develop its qNPA Platform Technology; $50,000 for its qNPA miRNA efforts; $20,000 for a melanoma screening development project; and $55,000 to develop its Gene-SNV mutation tests.

A full list of grant and tax credit winners under the program can be found here.

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