European Pharmaceutical Review: Foreign biotech start-up? Uncle Sam wants you! by Ayal Ronen, the FreeMind Group

Here, FreeMind Group’s Ayal Ronen explains the application process for funding by US Government agencies, exploring the challenges and potential benefits of applying for non-US entities.

Burns are directly responsible for up to 4,500 deaths in the US each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and of the 1.1 million people who require attention for burn-related injuries, some 10,000 die annually from infections. Clearly burns are a scourge, but they may be a little easier to treat, thanks to technology developed by Australian company Polynovo. The firm developed a product called NovoSorb, a synthetic polymer matrix that can be used to treat burns and other serious skin wounds, that helps the body build new tissue damaged by burns.

NovoSorb could help save lives – and the initial research and clinical trials that went into its development was supplied by the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) – even though PolyNovo began its life in Australia and is traded on the ASX.

This is just one example of the efforts of not just BARDA, but of a slew of other US agencies – the Department of Defence (DOD; US Army, DTRA, DARPA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – to fund such projects. In 2020, the NIH alone awarded $263 million to 565 non-US projects, 37 percent more than just four years earlier, with other agencies providing tens of millions more.