Have you ever wondered why it takes so long for vaccines, cures, and other pharmaceutical treatments to be developed? It’s because there’s a severe lack of funding for biomedical research. But an Alabama-based startup called Healthfundit has a solution, and it involves revolutionizing the way in which biomedical research is funded.
As it currently stands, most biomedical research projects are funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, over the past decade, research funding has decreased by a staggering 22%. To make matters worse, budget proposals for 2018 are set to reduce NIH funding by an additional 18%.
Rather than let biomedical research funding continue to decline, Healthfundit has proposed a new form of financial backing: crowdfunding. The company provides an online platform where visitors can donate to the projects they care most about.
Here’s how it works: Healthfundit accepts unfunded NIH grant proposals that rank in the top 30th percentile. Online community members then vote on their favorites. Projects and proposals that receive the highest interest from the community are selected to crowdfund. Healthfundit will assist in the crowdfunding process, which includes providing promotional materials.
Healthfundit co-founder and CEO Larry Lawal believes that this new approach to funding is necessary if we want to see advancements in healthcare. Currently, less than 1% of federal money is allocated to scientific initiatives, whereas nearly 54% of the U.S. budget is spent on the military.
“Research funding is broken and if we don’t reinvent research funding, our collective health will decline in the coming decades,” Lawal said in a 2014 Tedx Talk. “Much of the research avenue I pursued cannot be directly continued because of government funding cuts, and that is the shared story of countless researchers and academic centers across the U.S.”
For being in its beginning stages, Healthfundit is already off to an impressive start. The company has established a partnership with both the NIH and a Fortune 500 company. Given its potential, this is definitely a company that investors should keep their eye on.