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Healthcare Reform to Bolster Research

The passage of the healthcare reform bill this week signifies more than affordable insurance for many Americans. Tucked within the bill's 2,400 pages are "lesser-known provisions that will significantly affect biomedical researchers, teaching hospitals and the biotechnology industry," Nature News reports. The bill calls for the initiation of a new competitive grant program at the National Institutes of Health, the Cures Acceleration Network, which will garner up to $500 million annually to ramp-up the translation of basic research into treatments. Individual awards are expected to be up to $15 million per year. Nature reports that the CAN will be distinct from the Clinical and Translational Science Awards, a program already in place at the NIH.

Science Insider reports that the bill also contains language outlining the creation of a "new, independent, non-profit institute for comparative effectiveness research — evidence-based studies that compare the value of medical treatments, such as two different drugs or a specific drug versus surgery."

According to Nature, companies that produce biologics also benefit from the bill. New regulation would guarantee 12 years of market exclusivity for makers of brand-name biologics before biosimilars can be produced.