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In a bid to jumpstart drug development, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill for the U.S. government to back so-called “biobonds,” which would be used to fund small companies and universities that are researching treatments for unmet medical needs.

The LOANS Act, which would authorize a total of $30 billion over an upcoming three-year period, is designed to reduce what the lawmakers called a “perennial shortage of funds” and to help restart research stalled by the Covid-19 pandemic.


In explaining their rationale, the lawmakers argued that such financing is generally unavailable for translational research, which takes a project from the lab to early-stage clinical testing. Instead, funding is provided by venture capital or internal funds held by larger pharmaceutical companies, which can lead to higher-priced medicines for larger patient populations.

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