Healthcare :: Licensing Opportunities for Rare Disease Technologies

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched a new website today offering technologies available for commercial licensing that are related to rare diseases or conditions. The listing can be found at and currently consists of more than 500 such technologies, including drugs, biologics, and devices, available to be transferred from the NIH and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the private sector for further research and development and potential commercialization.

The new resource was developed by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) and the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) at the NIH. ?By making it much easier for pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions to identify licensing opportunities, this new site will help facilitate the transfer of research advances from bench to bedside where the interventions can ultimately benefit patients,? said NIH Director, Elias Zerhouni, M.D.

A rare disease is defined as one with prevalence less than 200,000 in the United States*. There are an estimated 25 to 30 million people in the United States with one of over 6,500 known rare diseases. Though technically ?rare,? some rare diseases are familiar, such as meningitis (inflammation of membranes of the brain and spinal cord most commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection) and Lou Gehrig?s Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a chronic, progressive disease marked by gradual degeneration of the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement).

Stephen Groft, Pharm.D., Director of ORD, explained that, ?Because relatively few people are affected by any one rare disease, finding therapies for each poses unique challenges and requires innovative approaches.? He added, ?We?re excited about this new mechanism to foster collaboration with the private sector and the potential to make a real difference for patients.?

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