Biotechs line up to announce an avalanche of QTDP grants

Ever since the deadline rolled around for the $1 billion Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project biotech bonanza, drug developers around the country have been lining up to announce their prizes. Startup Eleven Biotherapeutics, for example, picked up $733,000 in federal grant money for three of its projects. And a host of single grant announcements hit, ranging from Antisoma's $244,000 for an AML program to GeoVax Labs' $244,500 for an HIV/AIDS vaccine.

The QTDP grants were designed to go to developers with fewer than 250 employees, a ceiling that conveniently covered virtually all but a small number of mid-sized and large biotech companies. And while each company was able to qualify for up to $5 million, it appears from the blizzard of releases that has fallen in recent days that the IRS was interested in spreading the money far and wide.

In Illinois, for example, the state biotech association announced that at least 59 companies gained over $14.5 million in federal funds. Each project was eligible for up to $244,479.24 in grant money. And MichBio said that 58 companies in Michigan received about $18.4 million from the program, which was created as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

In an industry that thrives on non-dilutive funding like this, the first helping of federal funds quickly led to calls for a second course. A few days ago, BIO CEO Jim Greenwood proclaimed: "We now call on Congress and the Administration to work together to extend and expand the Therapeutic Discovery Project to support continued American innovation and accelerate the development of life-saving cures."

- check out the release from BIO
- and here's the MichBio release
- read the release from Illinois