NIH Offers SBIR Niche Assessment Program to Phase I Awardees

Notice Number: NOT-OD-06-001

Key Dates
Release Date: October 5, 2005

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (

NIH announces the availability of an SBIR Niche Assessment Program for Phase I SBIR awardees in FY 2005 and FY 2006. NIH has contracted with Foresight Science and Technology to perform Technology Niche Analyses (TNA™) for 150 NIH SBIR Phase I awardees. For each eligible Phase I SBIR project, the TNA™ will assess potential uses of the technology and result in a report that includes:

1) the needs and concerns of end-users that drive the competitive opening in the market
2) competing technologies and products
3) the competitive advantage of the technology
4) who the key competitors are likely to be
5) the likely price customers will pay
6) what will drive the market
7) the key standards, regulations, and certifications influencing buyer acceptance
8) the market size and what share should be sought
9) the potential customer, licensee, investor, or other commercialization partner
10) a commercialization strategy that includes tasking and a schedule for implementation

The TNA™ process has three steps:

(1) In the first step of the analysis, Foresight will gather the pertinent information needed from the SBIR awardee to identify feasible applications of the technology. Typically several non-obvious users are found. Such secondary applications often provide a path to market that is faster than the primary biomedical use.

(2) In the second step, Foresight will analyze the selected application to determine the end-user needs, current and emerging competing technologies, market dynamics, socio-economic trends and market drivers, and to quantify the market size and participant's possible share. This second step determines the technology's current competitive advantages and how to improve competitiveness.

(3) In the third step, Foresight will recommend a market entry strategy. This strategy includes how to market the technology to end-users, how to obtain Phase III partners, and also projects revenues for the technology. Likely lead customers, testing centers, suppliers, manufacturers, and/or other relevant organizations interested in participating in the downstream research as beta testers or concurrent engineering advisors will be identified.

To validate the analyses and recommendations, Foresight will identify and qualify companies or funding agencies that might be interested in becoming commercialization partners. Follow-up communication with these potential partners will be the responsibility of the small business.

Only NIH FY 05 or FY 06 SBIR Phase I awardees are eligible to participate. For those with multiple awards, only one project per company will be accepted. Those projects that were selected for the Pilot Niche Assessment in 2005 will not be considered for this opportunity again, however, other Phase I awards the company may have received in FY 05 or FY 06 are eligible. Note that STTR awardees are not eligible.

There are no limitations based on the type of technology being developed. For example, it is appropriate for those developing clinical products such as devices, drugs, biologics, therapeutics, and/or software, as are educational and multi-media behavioral sciences products. The program is also appropriate for those seeking strategic alliances and investors, and immediate customers.

150 slots are available and will be filled on a “first come, first served” basis. Fifty slots are available in each of the three groups below. Only one TNA ™ will be performed for each company, and you may sign up at any time for any one of the groups. It is suggested that you carefully consider your group selection in relation to when you plan to submit your Phase II application as the Technology Niche Analysis report may be helpful in the preparation of the commercialization plan that is required in an SBIR Phase II application.

TNA Group Earliest Possible Start Date Estimated Completion Date of Report
A Oct 14, 2005 late Jan 2006
B Jan 27, 2006 mid May 2006
C May 10, 2006 late Aug 2006

The amount of time you will need to expend is minimal (perhaps only a few hours) and the cost is free . You will be expected to provide follow-up information concerning the usefulness of the report as it will be instrumental in determining the effectiveness of the program.

To participate in the program, complete the registration form available at: (MS Word format) (PDF format)

and email or fax to Foresight at:

Ms. Jennifer Dazell
Foresight Science and Technology
Telephone: 401-273-4844 X10
Fax: 401-273-4744

Questions about TNA ™ may be directed to Ms. Dazell. General questions to:

Ms. Kay Etzler
Office of Extramural Programs
National Institutes of Health
6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 360
Bethesda , MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 435-2713
FAX: (301) 480-0146

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