The top 10 biomedical research institutions

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Academic research institutions play a crucial role in the drug development process, especially on the preclinical research and drug discovery side, as Big Pharma companies are increasingly cutting back their R&D spending. While many of the research institutions featured here are still doing plenty of basic science research, interest seems to be growing among these universities in repurposing existing drugs or those that never made it into the marketplace because of safety issues.

We've taken a look at some of the best research institutions in the U.S. and ranked by them by their level of funding from the National Institutes of Health, the largest funder of biomedical research in the world. The report highlights some of the important drug discovery research coming out of these universities that FierceBiotech Research covered in 2013, but it is by no means a comprehensive look at every research initiative at these institutions.

Last year, funding for biomedical research at these institutions took a hit from sequestration on top of years of budget cuts to the NIH. Seven out of 10 of those on our list lost funding in fiscal 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Stanford University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of California, San Francisco, were the only three among the top 10 to get a slight bump in NIH funding from 2012 to 2013. A 2014 spending bill passed in January will restore $1 billion to the NIH budget compared to fiscal year 2013 postsequester, but that is still below presequester funding levels.

Just to clarify--we haven't used any metrics other than NIH funding levels to rank these institutions. Thus, this list shouldn't be interpreted as a ranking of institutions providing the best research or those producing the most breakthroughs. To see where we got our data, check out NIH's searchable awards database.

Check out the list, and as always, feel free to drop me a line to let me know what you think. And if you're a researcher with some news to share, we'd like to hear it.

-- Emily Mullin (email | Twitter)