What the private sector is now doing, thanks to government largess and the power structure, is lobbying for government grants knowing they can get the taxpayer to take the risks, thus limiting their own exposure. If it becomes successful then they stand to make a bundle, with the most recent and famous government failure being Solyndra. You can bet that the executives and their friends didn't lose money.
These $3 million shrimp experiments go largely unnoticed and although $3 million sounds trivial we can be reasonably certain that someone besides scientists is making money from this and that there might well be political connections involved.
There are many private companies which do their own Research and Development and are hugely successful. Taxpayer money is not a requirement and never has been.