The GORDON AND LLURA GUND LEADERSHIP AWARD honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to increasing the level of advocacy for medical and health research at the local, state or national level.
Jed Manocherian is the founder and chairman of ACT for NIH: Advancing Cures Today at the National Institutes of Health.
A successful real estate investor, developer, and philanthropist, Jed has had a profound impact on global health as the founder and chairman of ACT for NIH. Jed’s life mission is to advocate for biomedical research as a means of reducing pain and suffering worldwide. Through his service on the Board of Visitors of MD Anderson Cancer Center, he learned about our nation’s chronic underinvestment in biomedical research. He originally resolved to double funding for the National Cancer Institute but realized that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had seen its budget erode by nearly 25% since 2003, and grant success rates decline by 50%. Recognizing that the NIH is the largest funder of medical research in the world and our nation’s premier medical research agency, Jed founded ACT for NIH with the singular mission of restoring and then doubling the NIH budget. He formed a world class team, and a distinguished Advisory Committee that includes Nobel Laureates Dr. Jim Allison, Dr. David Baltimore, and Dr. Jennifer Doudna, as well public health leaders Dr. Ronald DePinho, Mike Milken, Dr. Sid Mukherjee, and Sean Parker. He also founded ACT for NIH Foundation to support medical research and research advocacy organizations. The entire effort is self-funded by Jed and his family.
Jed meets and speaks with members of Congress on a weekly basis and has developed meaningful relationships and friendships with the members that are most influential in determining NIH funding levels. He is a persuasive and influential force that has galvanized our nation’s leadership to accelerate funding for biomedical research. Through his leadership and advocacy, NIH funding has become a bi-partisan Congressional priority. This is evidenced by a $12.9 billion, 42% increase to NIH’s budget over the last six years.
Jed’s stated position is that “there are no incurable diseases, only diseases that haven’t been cured yet. And even with historic increases to the NIH budget in the past six years, funding levels are not even close to adequate to capitalize on all of today’s great scientific opportunities. NIH funded research will drive our economy, rein-in unsustainable entitlement costs, and spare millions across the globe from the ravages of disease. We must double the NIH budget to inoculate our economy from the threats of the next pandemic and vanquish afflictions that have vexed us for centuries. The cost is billions, the return is trillions, and it is priceless to patients and their families anxiously awaiting cures.”
ACT for NIH was also an important player in passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which will increase biomedical research funding at the National Institutes of Health by $4.8 billion over ten years and accelerate the discovery and development of life-saving drugs and therapies. More broadly, the $6.3 billion package of medical innovation bills contained in the 21st Century Cures Act includes: $1.4 billion for the Precision Medicine Initiative; $1.8 billion for The Beau Biden National Cancer Moonshot; and $1.6 billion for the BRAIN initiative. The legislation also provides $1 billion to states to supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment activities. Many members of Congress consider this the most important legislation of their career. Jed worked closely with key members of Congress on a bipartisan basis, championed the law from its inception, and attended the White House bill signing ceremony. Then Vice-President Biden graciously recognized Jed by inscribing in his book, “without your efforts through ACT for NIH, 21st Century Cures would not have passed."
Jed is currently working closely with Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to secure a robust increase to the NIH budget for fiscal year 2022, and for the creation of ARPA-H (Advanced Research Project Agency for Health) which promises to accelerate translational research that will result in treatments and cures for some of the most intractable diseases and conditions. Jed’s personal commitment and collaboration with many influential health advocates to increase biomedical research funding, and for bold policy and legislation are significant and far-reaching.
He concludes every correspondence with “there are too many patients to be patient.”
For more information about the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award, click here.