3 things about the PhRMA Foundation

Here are three ways the PhRMA Foundation's work impacts health research and researchers.

Lori ReillyMay 15, 2023

3 things about the PhRMA Foundation.

To achieve a healthier world where all people have access to life-changing medicines, we must support researchers working to advance biopharmaceutical innovation and value-driven health care. This is the purpose of the PhRMA Foundation, a 58-year-old nonprofit that catalyzes the careers of promising researchers through competitive, peer-reviewed grants and fellowships.  

The PhRMA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that is scientifically and financially independent from PhRMA. It is supported by philanthropic donations from pharmaceutical companies, and I recently joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors to engage with them in their mission and help grow the STEM talent pipeline.  

Here are three ways the organization’s work impacts health research and researchers:  

  • The Foundation awards about 40 academic researchers annually in the areas of drug delivery, drug discovery, translational medicine, value assessment and health outcomes research. These awards are an investment in the next generation of scientists who will play critical roles in future therapeutic development. Some will join the industry for rewarding careers making tomorrow’s medicines. Some will remain in academia to train the future workforce. Some will take on positions in government agencies that regulate the drug development process or guide the health care coverage and payment process. 

  • Throughout its history, the Foundation has helped to seed and grow fields of research including, most recently, value assessment. The Foundation has supported investigator-driven value assessment research since 2017. For example, the $500,000 Frontier Award seeks empirical studies examining whether novel value frameworks can be applied in real-world context, reliably incorporate diverse elements of value, and identify appropriate patient-centered outcomes. A new white paper, “Driving Progress in U.S. Value Assessment,” highlights Foundation-funded research, as well as reviews the current value assessment landscape and key challenges that may hinder the robust application of value assessment in the U.S. health care system. I recommend watching this webinar for a great overview.  

  • The Foundation is dedicated to enhancing diversity in biomedical science — both among the scientists conducting the research and the patients participating in the research. The Foundation’s recent awardees have been about half women and half people of color, and it is one of the few nonprofits that gives awards to international students at U.S.-based institutions. To help increase diversity in clinical trials, the Foundation will soon launch a regulatory science award to support equity-focused research on the use of digital health technologies (DHTs). Research funded by this program could be used to generate evidence to support the verification, validation, and qualification of DHTs for diverse populations or to examine the use of DHTs in clinical trial recruitment and participation for populations underrepresented in research. 

I am excited to support the PhRMA’s Foundation’s critical mission of fostering the future of health research. I encourage you to visit the Foundation’s website to learn more about the talented young researchers and innovative ideas that the Foundation is investing in.  

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