Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for the "Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network (BPN): SBIR Small Molecule Drug Discovery and Development for Disorders of the Nervous System (U44)"

Notice Number: NOT-NS-14-021

Key Dates
Release Date: Release Date: April 9, 2014
Estimated Publication Date of Announcement: July 2014
First Estimated Application Due Date: October 2014
Earliest Estimated Award Date: July 2015
Earliest Estimated Start Date: July 2015

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National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
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Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)


The NIH announces its intention to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for SBIR-eligible small businesses seeking support from the Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network (BPN). Applicants are encouraged to utilize a customized set of contract resources, and consultants from the Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network (BPN) to help advance their neuroscience-focused drug discovery and development projects into the clinic. This Notice is provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects.  Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

To facilitate drug discovery and development by the neuroscience community, the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research ( has established the Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network (BPN), a collection of contract service providers and consultants with extensive industry experience in the areas of pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, GMP synthesis, formulation development, and Phase I clinical safety testing. A list of consultants and contract service providers can be viewed at

A planned Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will solicit applications from SBIR-eligible small businesses seeking funding through a fast-track phased U44 cooperative agreement mechanism to help advance their drug discovery and development projects into the clinic. Applicants will be encouraged to build in customized utilization of BPN services into their applications.

To be eligible for the BPN, an applicant must have well-validated bioactive compound(s) in hand; the BPN does not support screening for hit compounds. Projects can enter the BPN during Discovery or Development and may seek support through phase I/first-in-human testing. Discovery involves iterative medicinal chemistry to improve the potency and ADMET properties of compounds, toward the goal of identifying a clinical candidate. During Development, a clinical candidate undergoes preclinical toxicology testing required for an IND and manufacturing, ultimately advancing into phase I/first-in-human testing. BPN Development activities include chemical manufacturing and controls (CMC), formulation development, toxicology studies, regulatory support, and phase I/first-in-human testing.

The NIH will assemble a customized Lead Development Team for each project accepted into the program. The Lead Development Team typically will be co-chaired by the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and a consultant with extensive industry expertise identified and supported by the NIH. The Lead Development Team may also include members of the PD/PI's team, NIH-hired consultants with additional expertise, and NIH staff. The Lead Development Team will plan and coordinate the work supported by the cooperative agreement award and conducted by BPN contractors.

All projects that enter the BPN will begin with a preparatory phase of up to one year, which can be used to complete any studies required to meet the Discovery or Development entry criteria and to engage the Lead Development Team in establishing a detailed research plan, with go/no-go milestones, for all subsequent work.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with NIH program staff as plans for an application are being developed. Consultations will include conference calls with NIH program staff. Early contact provides an opportunity for NIH program staff to discuss the program scope, entry criteria, and goals, and to provide information and guidance on how to develop a competitive application. It's recommended that applicants contact the NIH staff at least 8 weeks before the receipt date.

For additional information on the BPN, please see



Please direct all inquiries to:

Rebecca Farkas, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-1779