Budget Deal Allows Funding Increase for NIH

ASGCT Staff - February 09, 2018

James H. Shannon Building (Building One). Credit: Lydia Polimeni, National Institutes of Health. License: CC BY-NC 2.0

After a brief government shutdown overnight, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed a bill to both fund the government through March 23 and raise the fiscal year 2018 and 2019 spending caps set by a 2011 deficit reduction law. The legislation assumes an increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of $2 billion over the next two years.

According to NIH spending estimates, the NIH provided approximately $297 million in funding in 2016 for gene therapy and gene therapy clinical trials, which represents a 13 percent increase in funding since 2011. However, with the number of gene therapies in development doubling in that time period, continued funding increases are greatly needed to support the rapid pace of research advancement in the field. NIH funding also supports multiple categories of stem cell research, as well as basic science research that contributes to the knowledge required for applied research in the gene and cell therapy fields.

The bill passed today raises the caps by $165 billion for defense spending and $130 billion for nondefense discretionary spending over two years. It also contains a continuing resolution to extend government funding at current levels until March 23 which will give appropriators time to write an omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2018. ASGCT will support allocating the maximal amounts possible for NIH and FDA funding. The growing scientific complexity of the products the FDA regulates and the increasing number of therapies in development, including gene and cell therapies, require annual appropriations that will adequately fund the FDA’s essential mission of ensuring the safety and efficacy of new treatments.

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