How Researchers Use Medical Grants to Create New Drugs


Research institutions such as nonprofits and universities play an integral role in developing new drugs. Securing grants for medical research and procuring pharmaceutical products are critical parts of the process. This article summarizes how researchers secure funding, obtain active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and pharmaceutical intermediates, and sell new drugs to pharmaceutical companies.

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Table of Contents

How Researchers Obtain Grants for New Drug Research

Scientists must first conduct research studies to identify potential drug candidates. Once identified, tests are conducted to ensure the drug’s safety and effectiveness.

Conducting research and clinical trials is cost-intensive, and many research institutions depend on grants from government agencies, nonprofit organizations, private foundations, and global health agencies.

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Global Health Agencies That Provide Funding

Global health agencies typically support research in areas such as malaria, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, and HIV/AIDS. Grants provided by these organizations often fund research, clinical trials, and new drug developments.

Pharmaceutical Company Grants

Some pharmaceutical companies provide research grants for medical students and institutions to conduct research aligning with their interests. 

Examples of pharmaceutical companies that provide grants include:

Research areas supported by pharmaceutical companies include oncology, infectious diseases, rare diseases, and neuroscience. Some of these grants fund early-stage research and clinical trials, while others target novel treatment development.

Partnerships Between Global Health Organizations and Pharmaceutical Companies

Pharmaceutical companies and global health organizations often collaborate to develop new drug treatments, ranging from early-stage research partnerships to clinical trials and production. 

First, global health organizations often identify public health needs and develop strategies to manage those issues. Pharmaceutical companies then collaborate to discover new treatments, conduct clinical trials, and manufacture the drugs in-house or in partnership with a contract manufacturing organization

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How Researchers Create New Drugs

Researchers typically purchase pharmaceutical ingredients such as APIs and pharmaceutical intermediates to create new therapeutics. 

APIs are active chemical components used to create drugs. In contrast, pharmaceutical intermediates are chemical compounds that form the building blocks of APIs during synthesis.

Researchers typically purchase APIs and pharmaceutical intermediates from chemical manufacturers and distributors. However, it is essential to make sure these materials are of high quality and purity, and produced to GMP standards

Steps in the Drug Creation Process

Creating new drugs often requires a multi-step process that involves chemical synthesis, formulation, and testing.

Chemical Synthesis 

The process of chemical synthesis involves combining active pharmaceutical ingredients and APIs to create new chemical compounds. 


The formulation stage incorporates the new compound into a drug delivery system used to administer the therapeutic. Sometimes this involves new technologies, such as novel drug delivery devices or sustained-release formulations.


The testing process evaluates the safety and efficacy via preclinical and clinical studies. Preclinical studies usually test the drug in animals, while clinical trials assess the treatment in humans to ensure safety, dosing, and efficacy.

Where to Buy APIs and Pharmaceutical Intermediates for Drug Research

MedicaPharma is an EU-based pharmaceutical distribution partner that collaborates with universities and research institutions to provide GMP-certified APIs and pharmaceutical intermediates. Click here for a product list.

How Researchers Sell Medications to Pharmaceutical Companies

Researchers typically sell the product to a pharmaceutical company after the development process. The sale process involves negotiating a licensing agreement outlining the terms, including how much the research institution receives for the rights to the drug, any royalties, and future payments. 

Following the sale, the pharmaceutical company often conducts additional clinical trials, obtains regulatory approval, and markets the medication to government agencies, healthcare providers, and the general public.

Medical Grants and Global Health Funding FAQ

A medical grant is funding provided to support education, research, and other healthcare initiatives. Pharmaceutical companies and healthcare organizations typically provide medical grants to support projects in their therapeutic focus or areas of interest.

Large pharmaceutical companies often influence university research by funding projects or providing grants that align with their business goals. While this practice often results in the required funding, it can also create conflicts of interest that result in financial gain for the pharmaceutical company.

Criteria used by learning institutions when applying for medical research grants include choosing research topics aligning with the funding organization’s interests, demonstrating potential for innovation, and project feasibility.

Global health funding is allocated by a variety of groups, including international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), national governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and private donors.

MedicaPharma is an EU-based pharmaceutical distribution company that works with pharmaceutical partners throughout the global supply chain to provide GMP-certified APIs. Click here for a list of available products.

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