Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Development and Application of PET and SPECT Imaging Ligands as Biomarkers for Drug Discovery and for Pathophysiological Studies of CNS Disorders (R01 Clinical Trial not allowed)

Notice Number: NOT-MH-19-043

Key Dates

Release Date: September 25, 2019
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement: January 08, 2020
First Estimated Application Due Date: February 05, 2020
Earliest Estimated Award Date: May 29, 2020
Earliest Estimated Start Date: June 26, 2020

Related Announcements
Reissue of PAR-18-227

Issued by
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)


The NIMH and NIAAA intends to promote a new initiative by publishing a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for research on the development of PET and SPECT tracers for molecular targets (e.g., receptors, intracellular messengers, disease-related proteins) that are implicated in mental disorders and alcohol abuse as tools to study disease pathophysiology and/or for assessing target engagement of potential therapeutic candidates. The objective of this FOA is to stimulate research in the identification and development of PET and SPECT probes for disorders of primary interest to the NIMH or NIAAA.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects.

The FOA is expected to be published in January 8, 2020 with an expected application due date in February 5, 2020 .

This FOA will utilize the R01 activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

This FOA is intended to stimulate the development of radioligands for molecular targets (e.g., receptors, cell adhesion molecules, intracellular messengers, and disease related proteins) that are of broad interest to the scientific community. The widespread availability and use of these radioligands are expected to: 1) accelerate research on identifying and characterizing the neural circuits and pathways implicated in the pathophysiology of mental disorders and alcohol abuse, and 2) facilitate the identification of new therapeutic targets and the development of new compounds as potential therapeutic agents.

Some examples of areas of interest to this initiative may include, but are not limited to:

  • Lead compound identification/development and syntheses of chemicals with suitable binding affinity and selectivity, biodistribution, pharmacokinetics, and physiochemical properties allowing radiochemical synthesis.
  • Pre-clinical studies, including: initial pharmacology and toxicology to screen out compounds that are unlikely to be promising candidates for PET or SPECT imaging; radiolabeling procedures; in vitro and ex vivo autoradiography; in vivo imaging including micro PET (rodent and/or primate); and studies of pharmacological specificity, biodistribution, and pharmacokinetics.
  • Establishment of appropriate compartmental models and/or graphical plots to quantify kinetic profiles, including binding potential, volume of distribution and test-re-test consistency for target engagement studies.

This FOA is not intended to support applications or research projects that propose human studies.

Funding Information

Estimated Total Funding TBD
Expected Number of Awards 5
Estimated Award Ceiling TBD
Primary CFDA Numbers 93.242, 93.273

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
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally Recognized)
County governments
Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organization (Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized)
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entity (Foreign Organization)
Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government

Applications are not being solicited at this time.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Enrique Michelotti, PhD
301- 443- 5415