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Congress has been Good to Biomedical Research

The NIH budget has gone up by 23 percent between 2016 and 2018, the 21st Century Cures Act has been passed, the Biden Moonshot continues into the Trump administration, and the FDA cancer center has been formed. What changed? Why such success after a 13-year dry spell marked by flat budgets? Washington insiders say at least some of the credit belongs to a philanthropist who had been determined to stay under the radar, and succeeded at doing so until legislative victories made his role hard to miss.

An argument can be made that Jed Manocherian, a real estate investor and developer, was ratted out by his success. Over the past four years, ACT for NIH, an organization Manocherian founded, has been channeling political clout to advance NIH. In a conversation with The Cancer Letter, Manocherian said he became interested in securing funding for NIH when he joined the Board of Visitors at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“Through this service, I learned about the enormous promise of biomedical science to ease human suffering,” said Manocherian, whose company, Woodbranch Investments, holds property in New York and Texas. “I also learned about the alarming erosion of federal support for the National Institutes of Health, the most important biomedical research agency in the world.”

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