NIH Offers SBIR Niche Assessment Program to Phase I Awardees

Notice Number: NOT-OD-07-080

Key Dates
Release Date:  July 31, 2007

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (

NIH announces the availability of a Niche Assessment Program for its SBIR Phase I awardees in fiscal years (FY) 2007 and FY 2008. NIH has contracted with Foresight Science and Technology to perform Technology Niche Analyses (TNA™) for 75 NIH SBIR Phase I awardees. For each eligible SBIR Phase I 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. Often times, several non-obvious users are found. Such secondary applications may 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.

The Niche Assessment Program is appropriate for all types of technologies, i.e., those developing clinical products such as devices, drugs, biologics, and therapeutics, as well as software, educational, and multi-media behavioral science products. The program is also appropriate for those seeking strategic alliances, investors, and/or immediate customers.

Seventy-five (75) slots are available and will be filled on a “first come, first served” basis. Only NIH FY 07 and FY 08 SBIR Phase I awardees (not STTR) are eligible to participate. For those with multiple awards, only one project per company will be accepted for Group A (see below), but others will be considered if space is available in Group B. Group A will include 50 slots and Group B 25. You may sign up at any time for either but 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


Sept 15, 2007

Early Feb 2008


Mar 1, 2008

Early Aug 2008

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. Kim McGrath
Foresight Science and Technology
Telephone: 401-273-4844 X15
Fax: 401-273-4744

Specific questions about TNA’s™ may be directed to Todd Farrar, Director of Services at Foresight, 401-273-4844, ext. 32,, and general questions about the program 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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