Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern (U19 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:
June 17, 2021
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement:
July 16, 2021
First Estimated Application Due Date:
October 15, 2021
Earliest Estimated Award Date:
May 01, 2022
Earliest Estimated Start Date:
May 01, 2022
Related Announcements


Issued by

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)


The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) intends to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications to establish Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern. This multidisciplinary research program will focus on advancing discovery and development of new or improved antivirals targeting coronaviruses, with an emphasis on SARS-CoV-2, and one or more viral pathogens from the following RNA virus families of pandemic potential: Paramyxoviruses; Bunyaviruses (Bunyavirales); Togaviruses; Filoviruses; Picornaviruses; or Flaviviruses.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects. The open FOA is expected to be published in mid-summer 2021. A pre-application informational webinar for prospective applicants is being planned.

Research Initiative Details

NIAID is interested in establishing a program of multidisciplinary research Centers focused on antiviral drug discovery efforts directed toward RNA virus families of pandemic potential. The aim is to generate a more substantial pool of antiviral lead series and candidate drugs with the potential to address the immediate threat of SARS-CoV-2, as well as provide antiviral drug candidates that might quickly pivot to address future viral outbreaks or pandemics. Of particular interest for this effort is identification and development of oral drug candidates with suitable safety profiles for broad use in the outpatient setting.

NIAID encourages highly integrated, multidisciplinary teams working collaboratively to address immediate and potential future antiviral needs. Antivirals of interest include small molecules, nucleic acids, peptides, or antibody-related forms (e.g. antibody- or antibody component-drug conjugates/fusions) to be used as monotherapy or in combination with other drugs.

It is anticipated that each Center will encompass a multi-project multidisciplinary research platform that employs innovative virology, biochemistry, structural biology, medicinal chemistry, genomics and/or systems biology approaches to identify and select essential virus-specific targets for discovery and development of antivirals against CoVs, emphasizing SARS-CoV-2, and additional RNA viruses of pandemic potential identified above. Activities in the various projects within the Centers are anticipated to range from early basic and discovery-based efforts, such as identification and validation of novel viral targets, to discovery and optimization of lead series with activity against a specific pathogen or viral family, to late-stage preclinical development and IND-enabling profiling of specific drug candidates. NIAID encourages development of modern technologies or platforms that target a wide array of pathogens. While early target identification and validation efforts in the Centers may be led by academic labs, for projects pursuing later-stage antiviral development, NIAID will require Centers to include active participation by industry to ensure access to high-quality chemical libraries and input of medicinal chemistry and pharmacology expertise. For the purpose of this FOA, "industry" is defined as a large or small, domestic or foreign, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, bioengineering, or chemical company, or a related non-profit entity.

Center Organization

Each Center in the AViDD program will be organized around a research objective focused on discovery, development, and/or use of one or more antivirals and/or antiviral technologies that target specified RNA viruses with the objective of translating research results to product development. Each Center will include the following components: Administrative Core, 5-10 interdependent Research Projects, and optional Scientific Cores (each must support at least two Research Projects). A Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) will be established for each Center in cooperation with a NIAID Project Scientist to advise the PD(s)/PI(s), facilitate Go/No-Go decision making, and to recommend new research directions as appropriate.

In addition, every Center must identify and support Developmental Research Projects that will take advantage of emergent technology and new research opportunities. Finally, the Centers must include a consistent and significant commitment to mentoring investigators interested in entering the field of antiviral discovery research with the goal of increasing the availability of qualified researchers and other personnel for antiviral discovery.


Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct. Foreign (non-US) applications and foreign components will be allowed.

Funding Information
Estimated Total Funding


Expected Number of Awards

NIAID anticipates funding up to 8 awards, contingent upon the availability of funds.

Estimated Award Ceiling

NIAID intends to cap direct costs at $15 million

Primary Assistance Listing Number(s)


Anticipated Eligible Organizations
Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education
Private Institution of Higher Education
Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Small Business
For-Profit Organization (Other than Small Business)
State Government
County governments
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally Recognized)
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized)
Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
U.S. Territory or Possession
Independent school districts
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organization (Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
Regional Organization
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entity (Foreign Organization)

Applications are not being solicited at this time. 


Please direct all inquiries to:

Michael Schaefer, Ph.D.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)


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