Thursday, November 4, 2010

Local Biotech-Pharma Companies Get Cash Infusion

OcuCure Therapeutics in Roanoke, Synthonics in Blacksburg, and Revivicor in Blacksburg are among companies granted federal funds through the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project (QTDP). The money is intended to accelerate and support the development of novel drugs and therapies.

These grant awards are made through the QTDP, a tax credit program which is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The goals of the QTDP Program are to spur small biotech and pharmaceutical companies to develop novel drugs and therapeutics, create high-paying U.S. jobs, and advance U.S. competitiveness in life, biomedical and medical sciences.

“This program makes a difference for a small firm like ours. It creates good jobs in the region and helps to develop our novel product and get it to market” says Sunder Malkani, CEO of OcuCure Therapeutics.OcuCure is developing a therapeutic eye drop for treatment of age-related macular degeneration and proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the leading causes of blindness in the developed world.

The Therapeutic Discovery Project Program is a $1 billion fund established to provide tax credits to companies with 250 employees or fewer. It covers up to 50 percent of qualified investments in projects aimed at creating new therapies, reducing long-term health care costs, or significantly advancing the goal of curing cancer within the next 30 years. To provide an immediate boost to U.S. biomedical research, the credit is available for qualified investments made or to be made in 2009 and 2010.

Companies may elect to receive the tax credit as a grant. "As a small biotech company with limited resources, in this economic climate, programs like QTDP are essential to move technology forward at a competitive pace." says David Ayares, CEO of Revivicor. Revivicor is a regenerative medicine company focused on providing human-compatible, alternative tissue sources for treatment of human degenerative disease.

“The economic environment over the last two years has been difficult for most everyone and Synthonics has felt this pressure, as well. Fortunately, we have been able to continue advancing our technology during these lean years. The tax credit program will provide the boost that Synthonics needs to accelerate our programs substantially.” says Tom Piccariello, President and CSO of Synthonics. Synthonics is developing novel chemistry technologies that are designed to improve the delivery and performance of pharmaceuticals.

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