Obama administration officials awarded $1 billion in therapeutic discovery project tax credits and grants to nearly 3,000 companies around the country to support promising biomedical research projects. 

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins announced the recipients of the $1 billion in credits and grants on Wednesday under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In all, they awarded funding for 4,606 applications from 2,923 small biotechnology companies in 47 states and the District of Columbia. The program aims to produce new and cost-saving therapies, support good jobs and increase U.S. competitiveness. 

“Our capacity to grow as a country, our ability to generate job growth in the future will depend significantly on our success at keeping American companies at the frontier of innovation and strengthening incentives for research, development and investment in the United States,” said Geithner. “Toward that objective, the president has made very substantial increases in investments in basic research and development in supporting science and biomedical technologies.”

The credit covers up to 50 percent of the cost of qualifying biomedical research and is only available to firms with fewer than 250 employees. To provide an immediate boost to U.S. biomedical research and the small businesses that conduct it, the credit is effective for investments made in 2009 and 2010. Firms could opt to receive a grant instead of a tax credit, so start-ups that are not yet profitable can benefit as well.

Sebelius said the initiative was part of a larger initiative at the NIH to find life-saving treatments for diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

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