Two recent news reports provided some good news for a change. First, FDA announced plans to award $2 million in grants for the development of pediatric medical devices. The grantees are: Dr. James Geiger and the Michigan Pediatric Device Consortium ($1 million), Dr. Pedro DelNido and the Pediatric Cardiovascular Device Consortium ($500,000), and Dr. Michael Harrison and the University of California at San Francisco Pediatric Device Consortium ($500,000). Timothy Cote, director of FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development, said in an agency release that the grants are meant to help “effectively meet the special and unique needs of our children.”
The second story is about how pharma major, Merck & Co. in New Jersey, has partnered with the independent charity organization, Wellcome Trust in the UK, to create a new company that will work to develop and deliver vaccines to individuals in developing countries. The joint venture will be called Hilleman Laboratories and be based in India.
Both stories offer a breath of fresh air for an industry that often takes heat from the media and the general public about being too focused on the bottom line. There’s nothing like innovation to help ease some of the world’s toughest problems and these populations—children and low-income individuals—need medical innovation the most.