NIH Awards $73.6M for R&D in the Capital Region
Stemcultures gets 1st NIH grant, Regenerative Research Foundation sets institutional record
COVID-19-related research and development helped push the total amount of National Institutes of Health grants awarded to Capital Region institutions and firms to its third greatest amount in the past decade, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of new data from the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT).
In fiscal 2021, 16 local firms and institutions received $73.6 million from 152 NIH awards. That included more than $3.2 million for Coronavirus-related R&D at GE Research and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The East Greenbush startup StemCultures received its first NIH award ($225,501), and the Regenerative Research Institute, also in East Greenbush, received its greatest amount in NIH awards ($6.4 million) since it started receiving them 13 years ago.
“The Regenerative Research Foundation and Neural Stem Cell institute (NSCI) receive NIH support for a new cell therapy of macular degeneration that is entered clinical trial in 2022, and for a new gene therapy that reduces the abnormal protein buildup underlying neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases,” said Jeffrey Stern, StemCultures’ CEO and co-founder of the Regenerative Research Foundation and NSCI.
“NIH also supports the NSCI-affiliated company StemCultures launch of a new sustained-release growth factor product to improve control of cell research and manufacture. In future years, NSCI and StemCultures will continue to contribute to the strong biotechnology sector developing in the Capital Region,” Stern added.
Last year’s regional total fell short of its fiscal 2020’s recent peak of $81.5 million and fiscal 2019’s $76.9 million. At $12.2 million from 26 awards, RPI received the most NIH funding in the region. A dozen firms and institutions received award totals exceeding $1 million. They included:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy: $12,152,769
Albany Medical College, Albany: $10,988,833
Kitware, Clifton Park: $7,877,116
University at Albany, Albany: $7,801,146
GE Research, Niskayuna: $6,880,191
Wadsworth Center: Menands $6,611,452
Regenerative Research Foundation, East Greenbush: $6,446,873
Curia (AMRI): Guilderland: $6,216,988
NYS Department of Health/Health Research Inc.: $3,241,311
Albany Research Institute, Albany: $1,833,731
iPACES, Clifton Park: $1,116,991
The NIH institute that awarded the most research funding in the Capital Region in fiscal 2021 was the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMN, $9.8 million). It was followed by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB, $9 million) and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI, $8.1 million).
Among the fiscal 2021 awards, four related to COVID-19 R&D:
GE Research in Niskayuna received $582,785 to “build a touch-screen sensor array to directly capture, detect, and identify model SARS-CoV-2 virus particles with minimal false alarms.”
RPI received $658,000, as part of a five-year $3.3 million grant, aimed at characterizing the structures and functions of proteins that are targets for antiviral and antibiotic drug development. This research includes efforts in antiviral drug discovery for coronavirus (COVID-19), influenza virus (flu), and other infectious diseases.
RPI received $653,073 to support R&D for an artificially intelligent agent called a Virtual Intelligent preceptor for COVID (VIVID), “which will prepare teams for surgeries, to intubate patients, and to properly use personal protective gear, without increasing anyone’s risk of exposure.”
RPI received $1,315,168 for facility upgrades in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) studies of biomolecules. Among other things, this includes antiviral drug development for coronavirus (COVID-19) and other infectious diseases.
CEG is supporting the growth of the region’s life sciences cluster by leading the following initiatives:
Marketing the Capital Region’s life sciences R&D assets at talent pipeline.
Conducting a life sciences cluster study that developed an action plan for: 1. improving the commercialization of local life sciences innovations, 2. strengthening the region’s life sciences ecosystem; 3. and recruiting contract research organizations (CROs) to the region.
Improving businesses’ access to labs at facilities, such as those at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and others affiliated with Innovate 518, a University at Albany-led collaborative effort of Capital Region incubators, accelerators, and entrepreneurial service providers.
Helping biotech firms, such as Vital Vio and Precision Valve & Automation grow through its Business Growth Solutions services, including continuous improvement, technology acceleration, energy and sustainability, supply chain development and workforce initiatives.
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