The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new initiative aimed to accelerate innovative development and commercialization of COVID-19 testing technologies to speed delivery of accurate, easy to use, scalable tests to all Americans.1 The $1.5 billion investment of Federal stimulus funding introduced the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Initiative to provide funding for the rapid development of early innovative testing technologies for COVID-19. The funding is targeted to support and accelerate diagnostic laboratory test development that improves access and convenience in a point of care setting as well as increased availability and efficiency of new lab tests.
NIH has other public-private partnerships in response to the pandemic that are complementary and focus on innovation and commercialization “We need all innovators, from the basement to the boardroom, to come together to advance diagnostic technologies, no matter where they are in development,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “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.”
The funding for RADx will aggressively expand diagnostic test development through the Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network (POCTRN) to accelerate the development of accurate and easy-to-use tests available to all Americans by the end of summer 2020.2 POCTRN was established by the NIH National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) as a public-private research partnership.3 Funding will be focused on the following categories:
Funding is a fast track opportunity for laboratories to further develop testing capabilities and get tests to market faster with the commercialization support of the NIH. NIH will work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and Prevention and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to advance the goals of the program. The phases of the program are shown below: