Shunned by Commercial Markets, Biotechs can Turn to Government Funds

Image: Anne MacNamara Researchers disheartened by the slowdown in private money for genomics projects should keep an eye on the Congressional budget, under debate now. US Government agencies are stepping up their spending on the search for genomic keys to disease. "It's a great time for genomics, as far as we're concerned," says Maria Giovanni, assistant director for microbial genomics and related technology development for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). NI

Peg Brickley
Nov 10, 2002
Image: Anne MacNamara

Researchers disheartened by the slowdown in private money for genomics projects should keep an eye on the Congressional budget, under debate now. US Government agencies are stepping up their spending on the search for genomic keys to disease. "It's a great time for genomics, as far as we're concerned," says Maria Giovanni, assistant director for microbial genomics and related technology development for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

NIAID is asking Congress to fund $103.6 million (US) in microbial genome sequencing projects in 2003, more than double the $47.2 million in the current year's budget. The generous government requests follow a withdrawal of venture capital investment. Four deals for genomics companies in 2002 amounted to only $26 million, a 76% decline from the $110 million raised by 10 companies in 2001.

FAME AND FORTUNE The popularity of genomics research accounts for the disparity...

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