Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and NIH Director Francis Collins have fired the starting gun launching biotech companies on a race for $1 billion in new government research grants or tax credits.

On Friday last week, Geithner, Collins and other senior administration officials described what companies can do now to start preparing to apply for the therapeutic discovery tax credit, which was included in the healthcare reform law for biotechs with 250 or fewer employers that are developing new therapeutic technologies.