NIH Funding Tied to FDA Approval of 210 Drugs Since 2010

A report published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) contributed to published research associated with every drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2010 and 2016. This amounts to 210 drug approvals, 84 of which were first-in-class agents.

Researchers at Bentley University conducted a literature review for mentions of each new molecular entity, as well as studies of their molecular targets. They then cross-checked to determine which of those studies had received any NIH funding.

More than $100 billion in NIH funding went supported research that contributed – directly or indirectly – to the 210 drugs approved in the six-year study period. The R01 grant was the most common source of this funding, and 90 percent of the publications were related to the biological targets of the drugs, rather than the drugs themselves.

“This work underscores the breadth and significance of public investment in the development of new therapeutics,” the authors concluded, “and the risk that reduced research funding would slow the pipeline for treating morbid disease.”

Source: STAT News, February 12, 2018; Cleary EG, Beierlein JM, Khanuja NS, et al. Contribution of NIH funding to new drug approvals 2010–2016. Proc Nat Acad Sci. 2018 February 6. [Epub ahead of print]