A new initiative aimed at speeding innovation, development, and commercialization of COVID-19 testing technologies, a pivotal component needed to return to normal during this unprecedented global pandemic, has been announced by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.
With a $1,500,000,000 investment from Federal stimulus funding, the newly launched Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative will infuse funding into early innovative technologies to speed development of rapid and widely accessible COVID-19 testing. At the same time, NIH will seek opportunities to move more-advanced diagnostic technologies swiftly through the development pipeline toward commercialization and broad availability.
NIH will work closely with the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to advance these goals.
The stimulus investment supercharges NIH's research efforts already underway that are focused on prevention and treatment of COVID-19, including the recently announced planned Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines public-private partnership to coordinate the international research response to the pandemic.
"We need all innovators, from the basement to the boardroom, to come together to advance diagnostic technologies, no matter where they are in development," says NIH Director Francis S. Collins. "Now is the time for that unmatched American ingenuity to bring the best and most-innovative technologies forward to make testing for COVID-19 widely available."
As part of this initiative, NIH is urging all scientists and inventors with a rapid technology to compete in a national COVID-19 testing challenge for a share of up to $500,000,000 over all phases of development. The technologies will be put through a highly competitive, rapid three-phase selection process to identify the best candidates for at-home or point-of-care tests for COVID-19. Finalists will be matched with technical, business, and manufacturing specialists to increase the odds of success.
If certain selected technologies already are relatively far along in development, they can be put on a separate track and immediately be advanced to the appropriate step in the commercialization process. The goal is to make millions of accurate and...