In DepthBiomedical Research

Japan's ‘NIH’ starts with modest funding but high ambitions

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Science  08 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6235, pp. 616
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6235.616

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After several years of planning, on 1 April Japan launched its Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED). Many hope AMED will someday become the country's version of the United States' National Institutes of Health. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is counting on AMED to move drugs and medical technologies from the bench to the clinic and the market. Japan has been weak in reaping the benefits of basic biomedical discoveries partly because governmental support for the field has been split among three ministries. But AMED has a long way to go before it will have the resources and clout of its U.S. counterpart. Although charged with advancing work in fields ranging from infectious diseases to cancer and brain science to rare maladies and regenerative medicine, AMED will control just $1.2 billion, a fraction of NIH's $30 billion budget.