The National Institutes of Health has thrown its hat into the drug development ring with the announcement of a new program that will seek to bring drugs that treat rare and neglected diseases onto the market. "This is a tremendously important initiative for people with rare diseases," Peter Saltonstall, president of the linkurl:National Organization for Rare Disorders; (NORD), said in a linkurl:statement.; "There are nearly 7,000 rare diseases and only about 200 of them have an FDA-approved therapy." The new NIH program, called Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases, or TRND, will be fueled by $24 million per year for five years. The aim of the $120 million project, according to acting NIH director linkurl:Raynard Kington,; will be to target diseases and disorders that are ignored by pharmaceutical companies because they afflict a relatively small segment of the population - less than 200,000 people in the US by definition. "NIH...

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