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

Key Dates

Release Date:
January 06, 2020
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement:
February 08, 2020
First Estimated Application Due Date:
August 11, 2020
Earliest Estimated Award Date:
February 16, 2021
Earliest Estimated Start Date:
April 01, 2021
Related Announcements
Issued by

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)


The NIH announces its intention to reissue PAR-18-541 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. This FOA will utilize the U44 activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

The FOA is expected to be published in February of 2020 with an expected application due date in August 2020.

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

The reissued Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will encourage 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 Discovery projects will begin with a U44 Phase I award of up to two years. The first 6-12 months will 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 and webinars. 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

Funding Information
Estimated Total Funding
Expected Number of Awards
Estimated Award Ceiling
Primary CFDA Numbers


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
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)
U.S. Territory or Possession
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized)
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entity (Foreign Organization)
Regional Organization Applications are not being solicited at this time.

Please direct all inquiries to:

Charles Cywin, PhD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices