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CBN offers pharmaceutical firms N500m research grant

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released guidelines for its novel Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme, targeting scholars, scientists and other stakeholders who are seeking funds for new and improved drugs, vaccines, remedies and diagnostics to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a seven-page circular obtained from the apex bank’s website on Sunday, the CBN stated that the initiative would be bankrolled from the developmental segment of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund.

Research activities are to attract grants of up to N50 million just as the grant support for development/manufacturing activities will be a maximum of N500 million.

The central bank had launched the initiative as part of the policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to reinvigorate the public healthcare structure via funding Research and Development (R&D) in new and improved drugs, vaccines and diagnostics of communicable diseases in the country.

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“Candidate vaccines undergoing pre-clinical testing or trials shall not be eligible for consideration under this scheme.

“However, candidate vaccines undergoing clinical testing or trials shall be eligible for consideration under the scheme if considered to have high potential to cross the clinical trial stage and prospects of scale by the Body of Experts,” the CBN said.

The CBN noted that the scheme aimed to spur local production of key drugs and vaccines, promote their sustainable supply and scale down the huge spending on manufacturing of drugs, vaccines and herbal remedies in the country.

Beneficiaries are to receive the funds through tranche disbursement subject to the terms and conditions.

Development/manufacturing activities will not be more than a year from the date the funds will be released, the CBN said.

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