On December 17, the National Institutes of Health announced the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) will lead the launch of three pre-clinical projects to bridge gaps in developing therapeutics. One of the projects will focus on the development of minihepcidins, which may one day prevent the damaging effects of iron build-up in Beta Thalassemia patients. Merganser Biotech of Newton, PA, licensed minihepcidin, which was discovered in the lab of Merganser's co-founder, Tomas Ganz, PhD, professor of medicine and pathology at UCLA, and Elizabeta Nemeth, PhD, professor of medicine and co-director of the UCLA Center for Iron Disorders. Dr. Nemeth received an $8,500 voucher from the UCLA CTSI to use the UCLA Biotherapeutic Synthesis Facility, where minihepcidin was produced. The pre-clinical projects are part of the Bridging Interventional Development Gaps (BrIDGs) program funded by the NIH Common Fund.