National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
NIH StrokeNet Small Business Innovation Clinical Trials and Biomarker Studies for Stroke Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention (U44)
U44 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Cooperative
Agreement – Fast Track, Phase II
Reissue of PAR-14-252
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications from small business concerns (SBCs) that propose exploratory and confirmatory clinical trials focused on promising interventions, as well as biomarker-or outcome measure validation studies that are immediately preparatory to trials in stroke prevention, treatment, and recovery. The program will utilize the cooperative agreement mechanism to enable milestone-drive projects.
Successful applicants will collaborate and conduct the trial within the NIH StrokeNet. Following peer review, NINDS will prioritize trials among the highest scoring to be conducted in the NIH StrokeNet infrastructure. The NIH StrokeNet National Coordinating Center (NCC) will work with the successful applicant to implement the proposed study efficiently and the National Data Management Center (NDMC) will provide statistical and data management support. The NIH StrokeNet Regional Coordinating Centers (RCCs) and their affiliated clinical sites will provide recruitment/retention support as well as on-site implementation of the clinical protocol.
The NIH StrokeNet network will also be uniquely poised to collaborate with other US and international consortia necessary to conduct larger, definitive trials of promising interventions for stroke treatment, prevention, and recovery.
May 10, 2017
August 5, 2017
Standard dates apply by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.
*** Note new SBIR/STTR Standard Due Dates.
Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.
This FOA is being issued with limited due dates to accommodate the transition from FORMS-D to FORMS-E application packages. This FOA will be reissued for additional due date(s) on or after January 25, 2018.
January 6, 2018
It is critical that applicants follow the SBIR/STTR (B) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.
There are several options available to submit your application through Grants.gov to NIH and Department of Health and Human Services partners. You must use one of these submission options to access the application forms for this opportunity.
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information
To facilitate the cooperation and partnering of public and private funding organizations, universities, academic medical centers, research institutes, contract research organizations, biotechnology companies, and pharmaceutical companies in the advancement of interventions for stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, NINDS has formed the NIH Stroke Clinical Trials Research Network (NIH StrokeNet, http://www.ninds.nih.gov/research/clinical_research/NINDS_stroke_trials_network.htm). The NIH StrokeNet comprises a National Clinical Coordinating Center (NCC), a National Data Management Center (NDMC) and 25 geographically distributed Regional Coordinating Centers (RCC) with over 350 affiliated stroke centers.
The NIH StrokeNet network will consider the breadth of cerebrovascular disease, beginning with patients identified with an acute stroke through stroke rehabilitation and primary and secondary stroke prevention for pediatric and adult patients.
The network will provide a robust, standardized, and accessible infrastructure to facilitate rapid development and implementation of NINDS-funded stroke trials. The network is designed to increase the efficiency of stroke clinical trials by facilitating patient recruitment and retention, supporting novel methodologies and streamlined approaches to accelerate the development of promising stroke therapies, and enabling comparison between approaches.
This FOA is restricted to small business applicants. For-profit organizations and non-profits other than Institutions of Higher Education may wish to consider applying through PAR-17-277, NIH StrokeNet Clinical Trials for Stroke Treatment, Recover and Prevention Infrastructure Resource Access (X01). Others may consider use of PAR-17-274, NIH StrokeNet Clinical Trials and Biomarker Studies for Stroke Treatment, Recovery and Prevention (U01). It is recommended that all prospective applicants contact NINDS Scientific/Research staff before submitting an application.
For this funding opportunity announcement, Phase I and II clinical studies or trials refer to the common phases of a clinical trial. SBIR Phase I and II refer to the project phases of the SBIR program
Scope of the Program
NINDS has established the NIH StrokeNet to facilitate and streamline the execution of clinical trials in stroke. Thus, it is expected that all multi-center clinical trials for stroke treatment, prevention, and recovery supported by NINDS will be considered for implementation through the NIH StrokeNet.
This FOA encourages and provides a mechanism for the submission of applications for multi-center exploratory and confirmatory clinical trials focused on promising interventions, including pragmatic trials performed in large numbers of patients with minimal alteration from clinical practice and low per-patient costs. Also eligible are biomarker- and outcomes-validation studies that are immediately preparatory to trials in stroke prevention, treatment, or recovery. Exploratory clinical trials must include a clearly defined go/no-go pathway toward advancement to a future Phase 3 trial. In addition, the network will support studies to validate biomarkers with demonstrated promise to inform Phase 2 clinical trials. It is NINDS’ intention that the NIH StrokeNet will maintain a balanced portfolio of studies in each of these three areas, defined as follows:
The use of innovative and efficient study designs is encouraged, such as adaptive dose-finding designs, designs incorporating plans for sample size recalculation, and futility designs. Applications for exploratory studies (for example, early dose ranging studies with biomarker outcome, early proof of mechanism or proof of concept trials) are encouraged when appropriate. For medical devices, Early Feasibility and Traditional Feasibility study designs may include single-arm case series, on-off interventions (patients as own controls), device-device comparisons, comparisons to historic controls, comparisons to performance controls, or adaptive/Bayesian designs.
Priority of proposed network trials deemed by peer review to be highly meritorious will be based on factors including infrastructure capacity and availability of patient populations considering current ongoing trials within the network. Applicants may submit a proposed study at any time but timing of funding and initiation of the study will be determined by the NINDS with input from the NIH StrokeNet leadership as necessary to assure that studies can be conducted within the proposed timeline included in the research plan of the application.
While additional sites outside of the NIH StrokeNet network of RCC's may be required, NINDS expects that any confirmatory (Phase 3) trial conducted within the network will utilize most or all of the Regional Coordinating Centers. Exploratory trials and biomarker validation studies are expected to use at least 5 RCC's and should be feasible within the network with the addition of relatively few non-NIH StrokeNet sites (note that the applicant institution, if not a NIH StrokeNet site, may be included as a performance site in the study). The final number of sites needed for a proposed study will be determined following a feasibility assessment by the NIH StrokeNet.
Examples of appropriate exploratory studies under this FOA include, but are not limited to, multi-center studies designed for the following purposes:
Confirmatory (Phase 3) Trials
Confirmatory trials are conducted to provide a definitive answer regarding the safety and efficacy of an intervention or to compare the effectiveness of two or more interventions. The proposed research must address a scientifically important question, provide valuable information to the existing knowledge base, and have public health relevance. The trial design should ensure that high quality, complete data regarding the primary outcome will be collected in the most efficient manner in terms of time, resources, and burden to subjects. Secondary outcomes should be included only when they are anticipated to provide important supportive or explanatory data. The necessity of each secondary endpoint must be justified in light of cost and burden. Pragmatic trials requiring minimal data collection and low cost per subject are encouraged.
Biomarker and Clinical Endpoint Studies
Biomarkers, especially neuroimaging markers of vascular pathology, brain ischemia, or recovery after injury, have been developed for stroke research. The potential applications of biomarkers include guiding early neuroprotective and reperfusion interventions, monitoring neuroplasticity in stroke recovery, and expediting therapy development. Some biomarkers have been validated in multi-center studies, but their full potential to advance research awaits standardization and adoption across a clinical trials network. Similarly, for certain stroke trials the “road block” to evaluating a therapeutic approach may be the lack of a valid clinical endpoint.
This FOA encourages the submission of studies to validate biomarkers or clinical outcomes with demonstrated promise to inform Phase 2 clinical trials. Depending on the scientific questions posed, biomarker studies supported under this program might be stand-alone protocols or could be embedded within a network stroke trial. Studies designed for biomarker discovery are not suitable for this FOA.
Applicants should make note of the following:
(1) Working with the NIH StrokeNet is a cooperative venture between NINDS, the NIH StrokeNet and the applicant. Potential applicants will be provided guidance by NINDS Program Staff and the NIH StrokeNet Executive and Steering Committees. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NINDS Scientific/Research Contacts (see Section VII. Agency Contacts) in order to discuss the appropriateness of the proposed study to be conducted within the NIH StrokeNet. Prior to submission of the grant, applicants will be encouraged to work closely with the NIH StrokeNet Investigators in developing their research plan, assessing the feasibility of the study, and developing an appropriate budget to conduct the research. The additional interaction with the network is intended to harness the scientific clinical trial expertise in the network and to establish early collaborations necessary for successful conduct of the research plan. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to start the process early and allow ample time (i.e., 4-6 months) to prepare and submit a competitive NIH StrokeNet project application.
(2) Applicants to this FOA will be required to incorporate the NIH StrokeNet infrastructure (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/research/clinical_research/NINDS_stroke_trials_network.htm) into their proposed study, including central coordination through the NCC, data management through the NDMC, and subject recruitment and trial implementation at the RCCs and affiliated sites. It is not required that all sites participate in every trial. Additional (ad hoc) performance sites that are not currently NIH StrokeNet sites may be proposed to fulfill specific study requirements. All applicants and ad-hoc non-NIH StrokeNet sites will be required to use the master clinical trial agreements and central IRB that have been established for the NIH StrokeNet.
(3) Following peer review, the operational clinical protocol for trials selected for funding will be finalized by the NIH StrokeNet protocol working group and are expected to incorporate recommendations that may come from the peer review process. The NIH StrokeNet team was established by NINDS based on peer- and Council review to form a group of outstanding clinical trial experts from the fields of neurology and statistics with a proven record of developing high quality protocols. Final protocols will be reviewed and approved by NINDS prior to funding the application.
(4) This FOA is intended to support studies in patients, not healthy volunteers. Applications to conduct exploratory trials in healthy volunteers should be submitted in response to a separate announcement, PAR-17-122 (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-17-122.html). All trials proposing use of an investigational agent or device must have an active IND or IDE or documentation of exemption at the time of submission of the application (see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-NS-11-018.html).
(5) Device trials: The NIH recognizes that devices can vary greatly in terms of basic form and function, physiological bases for therapy, degree of invasiveness, etc. Consequently, the appropriate pathway to market may require a traditional Feasibility and Pivotal study in support of an eventual Pre-Market Approval submission, or may require a more limited study to address specific issues in support of an FDA 510(k) or 510(k) De Novo submission. Clinical studies involving devices may utilize the entire NIH StrokeNet network, or a more limited subset of centers selected based on appropriate expertise for the given device. Investigators are encouraged to contact the NINDS Scientific/Research Contact as early as possible to discuss how the NIH StrokeNet network may best be utilized in support of their specific device project. NINDS anticipates that the majority of device projects utilizing the NIH StrokeNet will be traditional Feasibility Studies in order to optimally leverage network advantages. An Early Feasibility Study should be designed [in accordance with FDA’s draft guidance, “Investigational Device Exemptions (IDE) for Early Feasibility Medical Device Clinical Studies, Including Certain First in Human (FIH) Studies”, see http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/GuidanceDocuments/ucm277670.htm] to allow for early clinical evaluation of devices to provide proof of principle and initial clinical safety data while device design and operations are still in development. A Traditional Feasibility Study is a clinical investigation that is commonly used to capture preliminary safety and effectiveness information on a near-final or final device design to adequately plan a Pivotal Study.
(6) Rationale: Exploratory and confirmatory clinical trials proposed for this network must anchor their rationale in (1) an unmet medical need; (2) a plausible biological mechanism; (3) rigorous preclinical (in vitro and/or in vivo) data; and/or (4) early clinical data. The individual weight given to each of these four criteria should be carefully assessed in the context of the specific application; there is no requirement to provide support from all four areas. The major findings of the studies, whether preclinical or clinical, that led to the proposed clinical trial should provide a compelling rationale that the proposed intervention will be effective. Data from preclinical and pilot studies demonstrating the need for and the feasibility of the trial should be presented when available. While the NINDS recognizes that animal models for stroke prevention, treatment, and recovery may be of limited informative value, the applicant should consider the rigor of any animal studies being used as support (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-NS-11-023.html). Preclinical data (such as from animal studies) that do not sufficiently meet the rigor guidelines or are not sufficiently associated with the human condition may be inadequate to support the rationale for the study.
(7) Pharmacometrics: Applications seeking to obtain data needed for pharmacometric modeling are permitted, with the ultimate aim of enabling the optimal design of a future efficacy trial of an intervention.
(8) NIH Resources: As appropriate, applicants are strongly encouraged to make use of the following resources for clinical research including:
(9) Mobile Technologies: Applicants are strongly encouraged to consider utilizing (at least experimentally) mobile technologies to facilitate data collection and protocol adherence on the part of research participants and study site staff.
(10) Plan for Full Commercialization: Applications considered under this FOA must outline a specific plan for future development in the case of a successful clinical trial. All applicants are expected to describe a realistic plan (extending beyond the SBIR Phase II), which outlines how and when full commercialization can be accomplished.
Since conducting the clinical trials needed to commercialize these products may be capital-intensive, this FOA encourages business relationships between applicant SBCs and third-party investors/strategic partners who can provide substantial financing to help accelerate the commercialization of promising new products and technologies initiated with NIH SBIR funding. In light of these goals, the NINDS strongly encourages applicants to establish business relationships with investors and/or strategic partners that have appropriate prior experience in the commercialization of emerging biomedical technologies.
See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.
Cooperative Agreement: A support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement. Substantial involvement means that, after award, NIH staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities. See Section VI.2 for additional information about the substantial involvement for this FOA.
Renewal (Phase II* Direct Phase II not allowed)
Resubmission (Direct Phase II not allowed)
Phase IIB Competing Renewal (Phase IIB)
The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide provide details on these application types.
The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
According to statutory guidelines, total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fees) normally may not exceed $150,000 for Phase I awards and $1,000,000 for Phase II awards. With appropriate justification from the applicant, Congress will allow awards to exceed these amounts by up to 50% as a hard cap ($225,000 for Phase I and $1,500,000 for Phase II).
However, NIH has a waiver from the SBA to issue awards under this program announcement exceeding these amounts. Applicants should rarely exceed $1,000,000 in total cost per year for a Phase I and $1,500,000 in total cost per year for a Phase II/Phase IIB. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIH program officials prior to submitting any application in excess of the guidelines and early in the application planning process. In all cases, applicants should propose a budget that is reasonable and appropriate for completion of the research project.
Durations up to 2 years for a Phase I and up to 3 years for Phase II may be requested.
NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.
Only United States small business concerns (SBCs) are eligible to submit applications for this opportunity. A small business concern is one that, at the time of award of Phase I and Phase II, meets all of the following criteria:
1. Is organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States, which operates primarily within the United States or which makes a significant contribution to the United States economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor;
2. Is in the legal form of an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, joint venture, association, trust or cooperative, except that where the form is a joint venture, there must be less than 50 percent participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture;
i. SBIR and STTR. Be a concern which is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by one or more individuals (who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), other business concerns (each of which is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), or any combination of these; OR
ii. SBIR-only. Be a concern which is more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these. No single venture capital operating company, hedge fund, or private equity firm may own more than 50% of the concern; OR
iii. SBIR and STTR. Be a joint venture in which each entity to the joint venture must meet the requirements set forth in paragraph 3 (i) or 3 (ii) of this section. A joint venture that includes one or more concerns that meet the requirements of paragraph (ii) of this section must comply with § 121.705(b) concerning registration and proposal requirements.
4. Has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees.
If the concern is more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these falls under 3 (ii) or 3 (iii) above, see Section IV. Application and Submission Information for additional instructions regarding required application certification.
If an Employee Stock Ownership Plan owns all or part of the concern, each stock trustee and plan member is considered an owner.
If a trust owns all or part of the concern, each trustee and trust beneficiary is considered an owner.
SBCs must also meet the other regulatory requirements found in 13 C.F.R. Part 121. Business concerns, other than investment companies licensed, or state development companies qualifying under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, 15 U.S.C. 661, et seq., are affiliates of one another when either directly or indirectly, (a) one concern controls or has the power to control the other; or (b) a third-party/parties controls or has the power to control both. Business concerns include, but are not limited to, any individual (sole proprietorship) partnership, corporation, joint venture, association, or cooperative. The SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for detailed eligibility information.
Small business concerns that are more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these are NOT eligible to apply to the NIH STTR program.
Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate Benchmark
In accordance with guidance from the SBA, the HHS SBIR/STTR Program is implementing the Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate benchmark required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. This Transition Rate requirement applies to SBIR and STTR Phase I applicants that have received more than 20 Phase I awards over the past 5 fiscal years, excluding the most recently-completed fiscal year. For these companies, the benchmark establishes a minimum number of Phase II awards the company must have received for a given number of Phase I awards received during the 5-year time period in order to be eligible to receive a new Phase I award. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 20 or fewer Phase I awards over the 5 year period.
Companies that apply for a Phase I award and do not meet or exceed the benchmark rate will not be eligible for a Phase I award for a period of one year from the date of the application submission. The Transition Rate is calculated as the total number of SBIR and STTR Phase II awards a company received during the past 5 fiscal years divided by the total number of SBIR and STTR Phase I awards it received during the past 5 fiscal years excluding the most recently-completed year. The benchmark minimum Transition Rate is 0.25.
SBA calculates individual company Phase I to Phase II Transition Rates daily using SBIR and STTR award information across all federal agencies. For those companies that have received more than 20 Phase I awards over the past 5 years, SBA posts the company transition rates on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov. Information on the Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate requirement is available at SBIR.gov.
Applicants to this FOA that may have received more than 20 Phase I awards across all federal SBIR/STTR agencies over the past five (5) years should, prior to application preparation, verify that their company’s Transition Rate on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov meets or exceeds the minimum benchmark rate of 0.25.
Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Benchmark
In accordance with guidance from the SBA, HHS, including NIH, SBIR/STTR Programs are implementing the Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Rate benchmark for Phase I applicants, as required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. The Commercialization Rate Benchmark was published in a Federal Register notice on August 8, 2013 (78 FR 48537).
This requirement applies to companies that have received more than 15 Phase II awards from all agencies over the past 10 years, excluding the two most recently-completed Fiscal Years. Companies that meet this criterion must show an average of at least $100,000 in revenues and/or investments per Phase II award or at least 0.15 (15%) patents per Phase II award resulting from these awards. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 15 or fewer Phase II awards over the 10 year period, excluding the two most recently-completed Fiscal Years.
Information on the Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Benchmark is available at SBIR.gov.
Applicants to this FOA that may have received more than 15 Phase II awards across all federal SBIR/STTR agencies over the past ten (10) years should, prior to application preparation, verify that their company’s Commercialization Benchmark on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov meets or exceeds the benchmark rate listed above.
Applicants that fail this benchmark will be notified by SBA annually and will not be eligible to receive New Phase I, Fast-track or Direct Phase II awards for a period of one year.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are
not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, may be allowed.
Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.
Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))
All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account. PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.
Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.
Under the SBIR program the primary employment of the PD/PI must be with the small business concern at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed project. For projects with multiple PDs/PIs, at least one must meet the primary employment requirement. Occasionally, deviations from this requirement may occur.
The SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for specific details on eligibility requirements. For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, see Multiple Principal Investigators section of the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.
This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.
NIH will not accept similar grant applications with essentially the same research focus from the same applicant organization. This includes derivative or multiple applications that propose to develop a single product, process, or service that, with non-substantive modifications, can be applied to a variety of purposes. Applicants may not simultaneously submit identical/essentially identical applications under both this funding opportunity and any other HHS funding opportunity, including the SBIR and STTR Parent announcements.
The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time. This means that the NIH will not accept:
A Phase I awardee may submit a Phase II application either before or after expiration of the Phase I budget period, unless the awardee elects to submit a Phase I and Phase II application concurrently under the Fast-Track procedure. To maintain eligibility to seek Phase II or IIB support, a Phase I awardee should submit a Phase II application, and a Phase II awardee should submit a Phase IIB application, within the first six due dates following the expiration of the Phase I or II budget period, respectively.
In Phase I, normally, a minimum of two-thirds or 67% of the
research or analytical effort must be carried out by the small business
concern. The total amount of all consultant and contractual arrangements to
third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort generally may
not exceed 33% of the total amount requested (direct, F&A/indirect, and
In Phase II, normally, a minimum of one-half or 50% of the research or analytical effort must be carried out by the small business concern. The total amount of consultant and contractual arrangements to third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort generally may not exceed 50% of the total Phase II amount requested (direct, F&A/indirect, and fee).
A small business concern may subcontract a portion of its SBIR or STTR award to a Federal laboratory within the limits above. A Federal laboratory, as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 3703, means any laboratory, any federally funded research and development center, or any center established under 15 U.S.C. §§ 3705 & 3707 that is owned, leased, or otherwise used by a Federal agency and funded by the Federal Government, whether operated by the Government or by a contractor.
The basis for determining the percentage of work to be performed by each of the cooperative parties in Phase I or Phase II will be the total of the requested costs attributable to each party, unless otherwise described and justified in “Consortium/Contractual Arrangements” of the PHS 398 Research Plan component of SF424 (R&R) application forms.
Additional details are contained in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.
Buttons to access the online ASSIST system or to download application forms are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.
It is critical that applicants follow the SBIR/STTR (B) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.
For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.
All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.
Instructions for Application Submission
The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF 424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:
1. SBA Company registry
All applicants to the SBIR and STTR programs are required to register at the SBA Company Registry prior to application submission and attach proof of registration. Completed registrations will receive a unique SBC Control ID and .pdf file. If applicants have previously registered, you are still required to attach proof of registration. The SBA Company Registry recommends verification with SAM, but a SAM account is not required to complete the registration. In order to be verified with SAM, your email address must match one of the contacts in SAM. If you are unsure what is listed in SAM for your company, you may verify the information on the SAM site. Confirmation of your company's DUNS is necessary to verify your email address in SAM. Follow these steps listed below to register and attach proof of registration to your application.
a. Navigate to the SBA Company Registry.
b. If you are a previous SBIR/STTR awardee from any agency, search for your small business by Company Name, EIN/Tax ID, DUNS, or Existing SBIR/STTR Contract/Grant Number in the search fields provided. Identify your company and click “Proceed to Registration”.
c. If you are a first time applicant, click the "New to the SBIR Program?" link on lower right of registry screen.
d. Fill out the required information on the “Basic Information” and “Eligibility Statement” screens.
e. Press “Complete Registration” on the lower right of the “Eligibility Statement” screen and follow all instructions.
f. Download and save your SBA registry PDF locally. The name will be in the format of SBC_123456789.pdf, where SBC_123456789 (9 digit number) is your firm’s SBC Control ID. DO NOT CHANGE OR ALTER THE FILE NAME. Changing the file name may cause delays in the processing of your application.
g. When you are completing the application package, attach this SBA registry PDF as a separate file by clicking "Add Attachments" located to the right of the Other Attachments field on the “Research and Related Other Project Information” form.
For questions and for technical assistance concerning the SBA Company Registry, please contact the SBA at http://sbir.gov/feedback?type=reg.
2. SBIR Application Certification for small business concerns majority-owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms. Applicants small business concerns that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms (e.g. majority VCOC-owned) are required to submit a Certification at time of their application submission per the SBIR Policy Directive. Follow the instructions below.
Applicants small business concerns who are more than 50% directly owned and controlled by one or more individuals (who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), other business concerns (each of which is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), or any combination of these (i.e. NOT majority VCOC-owned) should NOT fill out this certification and should NOT attach it their application package.
a. Download the “VCOC Certification.pdf” at the NIH SBIR Forms webpage.
b. Answer the three questions and check the certification boxes.
c. The authorized business official must sign the certification.
d. Save the certification using the original file name. The file must be named “SBIR Application VCOC Certification.pdf”. DO NOT CHANGE OR ALTER THE FILE NAME. Changing the file name may cause delays in the processing of your application.
e. When you are completing the application package, attach this certification as a separate file by clicking "Add Attachments" located to the right of Other Attachments field on the “Research and Related Other Project Information” form.
3. Clinical Protocol. A full clinical protocol of the proposed study should be included. At the time of this writing, the FDA and NIH had developed a draft Clinical Trial Protocol Template for Phase 2 and 3 IND/IDE Studies (http://osp.od.nih.gov/office-clinical-research-and-bioethics-policy/clinical-research-policy/clinical-trials), which should be modifiable to any type of clinical trial
4. Statistical Analysis Plan (SAP). This document should provide details on the analyses described in the protocol, including a detailed description of how the statistical analysis of the primary, secondary and other endpoints will be performed, how the sample size was determined, how missing data will be handled, plans for interim analyses for safety, efficacy and futility, plans for recalculation of the sample size midway through the trial (if applicable), etc. If computer simulations were used to investigate the operating characteristics of complex clinical trial designs (such as adaptive designs), to choose between alternative outcome measures, or to determine sample size, by taking into account the impact of noncompliance, missing data, subject eligibility criteria, etc., sufficient details about the simulations should be provided if the SAP. See the article, "The design of simulation studies in medical statistics", by Burton et al., Statist. Med. 2006: 25-4279-4292 for guidance on how to document a simulation study. It is particularly important to discuss the range of conditions that were considered in the simulation and why this range was considered appropriate, how robust the findings were across the range of conditions considered, and how the study will adjust for any design deficiencies (e.g., bias, loss of power) the simulations revealed.
5. Informed consent forms (ICFs) and, if applicable, assent form(s). The applicant should consider including language in the ICF to allow broad data and specimen access for subsequent research in order to maximize the value of subject samples and data and accelerate progress beyond the trial itself. (See http://www.ninds.nih.gov/research/clinical_research/toolkit/model_informed_consent.pdf for suggested ICF language).
6. Documentation of availability of eligible subjects at clinical sites, presented in tabular format and a supporting letter from the NIH StrokeNet indicating their ability and capacity to collaborate and conduct the proposed study.
7. Documentation of availability of interventional agent(s) or device(s) as well as plans and support for acquisition and distribution of interventional agent(s) or device(s).
8. Regulatory Approvals. If the intervention is a drug, biologic, or device, applicants must provide documentation from the FDA providing information on one of the following scenarios:
(a) The protocol has been submitted under an open IND and the IND is not under full or partial hold. Under this scenario, applicants must provide documentation such as a "may proceed" email or letter from the FDA.
(b) The protocol has been submitted as an original IDE or as a new study under an open IDE, and FDA has fully approved the IDE or IDE supplement. Under this scenario, applicants must provide documentation of an IDE or IDE supplement full approval letter from the FDA.
(c) The protocol has been submitted under an IND and is on full or partial hold. Under this scenario applicants must provide full documentation from the FDA on the reasons for hold and the FDA recommendations. Applicants should discuss how they intend to address the hold issues and when they believe they will have FDA approval to proceed with trial implementation.
(d) The protocol has been submitted as an original IDE or as a new study under an open IDE, and FDA has conditionally approved the IDE or IDE supplement. Under this scenario applicants must provide full documentation from the FDA on the conditions of approval. Applicants should discuss how they intend to address these conditions and when they believe they will have FDA approval to proceed with trial implementation.
(e) The protocol is exempt from an IND. Under this scenario applicants must provide a copy of the exemption email or letter from the FDA.
(f) The protocol is either exempt from the IDE regulations or does not require IDE approval because it is determined to be nonsignificant risk. Under this scenario applicants must provide either an IDE exemption letter or a copy of the risk determination letter from the FDA.
Applications that do not include this information will be withdrawn and not reviewed. Prior to grant award, awardees who do not have an exemption from the FDA must provide any additional FDA correspondence regarding the status of the protocol to the NINDS, especially if the trial has been placed under full or partial hold.
9. Milestone Plan. Applications must include proposed yearly go/no-go milestones. While final milestones will be determined at the time of grant award, the applicant should propose clear milestones that provide objective, quantitative outcomes that will justify continuing the project. Milestones are not equivalent to aims but rather are determinants of whether a study continues or stops. The proposed milestones must include achievable goals for the start-up stage, feasibility stage, and completion stage of the project as follows:
Proposed milestones should be included for the entire trial, including any anticipated time beyond the five-year award. This information will be used for planning purposes and to support the rationale for the full trial but does not guarantee continued funding beyond the initial funding cycle.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.
The budget for all clinical projects proposed to be conducted within the NIH StrokeNet should be largely planned on a fee-for-service basis with detailed per-patient costs. That budget may include clinical trial costs such as:
The budget will not include costs that are already covered by the NINDS infrastructure:
NINDS expects that the total cost for the proposed project (direct cost plus F&A) will not exceed $25,000 per subject randomized into the trial. Budgets exceeding this guideline should be adequately justified in the application. The NINDS strongly encourages applicants to consider simple and/or pragmatic trial designs that minimize per-subject data collection and cost.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:
Specific Aims: Applicants should describe the potential impact of the proposed research. The hypotheses and specific aims of the trial must be clearly and concisely stated. The primary and secondary outcomes to be measured must be defined. The inclusion of secondary aims should be justified by describing the importance of the supportive or explanatory data.
Significance and Biological Relevance: Applicants must state concisely the need, rationale, timeliness, and scientific relevance of the proposed study. It is particularly important that there be a discussion of how the trial will test the hypothesis proposed and how results of the trial (positive or negative) may be explained based on the biological action of the proposed intervention. The application must present an overview of the state of the science, current status of therapeutics for the disease, and relevance of the trial for stroke prevention, treatment, or recovery. The applicant should also identify other (industry or academic) current or planned trials that potentially overlap with the proposed study. The timeliness of the proposed study should be discussed in the application.
Potential Impact of the trial: Applicants should also include a description of the potential impact of the proposed research on clinical care - regardless of the results - and estimate the public health impact relative to the number of afflicted individuals in the U.S. and/or global population annually.
Prior Studies and Rationale for Development: Applicants should describe the full body of evidence being used to support the proposed study and comment on the justification for moving forward with this proposed clinical study. Proposed clinical trials must anchor their rationale in (1) an unmet medical need; (2) a plausible biological mechanism, as well as (3) preclinical (in vitro and/or in vivo) data and/or (4) early clinical data. Their individual weight should be carefully assessed in the specific context of the application at hand; the applicant is not required to provide support from all four areas. The major findings of the studies, whether preclinical or clinical, that led to the proposed clinical trial should provide a compelling rationale for the belief that the proposed intervention may be effective. Data from preclinical and pilot studies demonstrating the need for and the feasibility of the trial should be presented when available. While the NINDS recognizes that animal models for stroke prevention, treatment, and recovery may be of limited informative value, the applicant should specifically address the rigor of any animal studies being used as support (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-NS-11-023.html). Applications for drugs or biologics should provide compelling scientific evidence that the investigational agent and dose proposed for study will reach/act upon the designated target or that its mechanism of action is such that it is expected to be of benefit in ameliorating a specific aspect of the disease.
Approach: Applicants should provide a concise summary of the protocol including the following items below. Specific details can be referenced to the attached full protocol. The NINDS expects that the full protocol included in the application should support this concise summary.
Include a brief summary of the following:
Letters of Support:
Applicants are encouraged to include letters from patient organizations or other supporting documentation to show that patients were included as partners in the concept development and design of the trial.
If applicable, include letters of support documenting any commitments from third-party investors. Letters of support from these institutional partners should indicate any actual or planned/conditional financial commitment as a specific dollar figure or range, consistent with the instructions provided under Section IV.2, Other Attachments “Fundraising Plan”. Appropriate documentation of third-party investor commitment(s) may include a conditional letter of support stating that the third-party funding is contingent upon NIH selecting the application for an award.
SBIR-eligible public companies may include as part of their fundraising plan the issuance of stock. In such a case, the preferred documentation is a letter of support, signed by the Chair of the Board of Directors, which stipulates the following: (1) the amount of capital raised from the issuance of stock; (2) the amount of capital that will be dedicated to the proposed project under this FOA; (3) sufficient information regarding the use of the dedicated capital to demonstrate a substantial, value-added contribution toward the development and commercialization of the product or service to be developed under this FOA.
Resource Sharing Plans: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide, with the following modifications:
Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. The instructions for the Appendix of the Research Plan are described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:
Commercialization Plan: All applicants are expected to describe a realistic plan (extending beyond the U44 Phase II), which outlines how and when full commercialization can be accomplished. The full commercialization of the product/technology should be carried out with non-SBIR funds.
The following subsections with the headings should be included within the Commercialization Plan, in addition to the requirements listed in the SF424 Application Guide:
1) Statement of Need
Applicants must provide a concise “Statement of Need”. This statement is expected to provide answers to the questions listed below:
2) SBIR/STTR Commercialization History
Applicants should provide an SBIR/STTR Commercialization History that addresses the questions listed below. The following questions should be addressed for all SBIR/STTR awards received from any Federal agency:
3) Fundraising Plan
Applicants are expected to provide a Fundraising Plan. This plan is expected to include the following information:
The NINDS considers the raising of independent third-party investor funds to be an important means to facilitate and accelerate the capital-intensive steps that are required to commercialize new products/technologies emerging from NIH-funded SBIR/STTR Phase II projects.
Examples of third-party investors include, but are not necessarily limited to, another company, a venture capital firm, an individual “angel” investor, a foundation, a university, a research institution, a State or local government, or any combination of the above. SBIR-eligible public companies may also include as part of their fundraising plan the issuance of stock.
Applicants are expected to document their matching funds (or plans for raising them) as concretely as possible. For example, plans to raise additional funds from venture capital companies and/or other pharmaceutical companies should name specific partners and investors. Documentation should be included in the Appendix materials.
It is likely that several months will have elapsed between the time an application is submitted and the time it is peer reviewed and subsequently considered for possible funding. Accordingly, applicants should present a detailed summary of all past and/or planned (i.e., future/expected) third-party investor funds which clearly shows, relative to the estimated award date, when these funds have been and/or will be secured. For example, if the fundraising efforts of the SBC are in progress, and/or if the third-party investment is contingent upon NIH selecting the application for funding, then such plans should be clearly described in the Fundraising Plan.
4) Intellectual property (IP) Strategy
Applicants are encouraged to prepare this section of the application in consultation with partnering institution's technology transfer officials, if applicable.
Applicants should describe the IP landscape surrounding their investigational drug, biologic or therapeutic device. Applicants should describe any known constraints that could impede the development of their investigational drug, biologic or therapeutic device (e.g., certain restrictions under transfer or sharing agreements, applicants' previous or present IP filings and publications, similar technologies that are under patent and/or on the market, etc.) and how these issues could be addressed. If the applicants propose using an investigational drug, biologic or device or technology whose IP is not owned by the small business, applicants should include a letter from any entities owning the IP indicating there will not be any limitations imposed on the studies or the product which would impede achieving the goals of this funding program.
If patents pertinent to the investigational drug, biologic or therapeutic device being developed under this application have been filed, the applicant should indicate the details of filing dates, what types of patents are filed, and application status, and associated USPTO links, if applicable.
Applicants should discuss future IP filing plans. For a multiple-PD/PI, multiple-institution application, applicants should describe the infrastructure of each institution for bringing the technologies to practical application and for coordinating these efforts (e.g., licensing, managing IP) among the institutions, consistent with achieving the goals of the program. Applicants should clarify how IP will be shared or otherwise managed if there are multiple PD/PIs and institutions involved, consistent with achieving the goals of the program.
5) Supplemental Information
Documents related to third-party investors and their commitment (to be included in support of the Commercialization Plan)
Include documentation of support from third-party investors, such as term sheets or redacted bank statements or other appropriate documents (other than letters of support). Collate all such documents in one pdf file (with the list of attached documents at the beginning). Use filename "Third-Party Investors." (Note that this filename will become a bookmark in the application).
When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.
See Part 1. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirement for obtaining a unique entity identifier and for completing and maintaining active registrations in System for Award Management (SAM), SBA Company Registry, eRA Commons, and Grants.gov.
Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and time. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.
Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date and time. If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late. Applications that miss the due date and time are subjected to the NIH Policy on Late Application Submission.
Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.
Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.
All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Instructions. Paper applications will not be accepted.
Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.
For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.
All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.
The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.
See more tips for avoiding common errors.
Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant will not be reviewed.
Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in the policy -.
Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.
For this particular announcement, note the following:
1. Approved projects will be implemented through the NIH StrokeNet infrastructure and will make use of previously approved sites, resources, and investigators at the NIH StrokeNet NCC, NDMC, and RCC's and their satellite stroke centers. Timing of a grant award and initiation of projects approved by peer review and Council will be determined by the NINDS with input from the NIH StrokeNet leadership as necessary in order to assure that studies can be conducted within the proposed timeline included in the research plan of the application. Prioritization of trials to be conducted in the network will be determined based on factors including infrastructure capacity as well as availability of patient populations considering current ongoing trials within the network.
2. Participant Enrollment: the NIH StrokeNet includes a strong, flexible consortium of sites with capacity to implement trials. Trial enrollment will be overseen by the consortium.
3. Environment: The NIH StrokeNet infrastructure (NCC, NDMC and RCCs) was selected following peer review to provide an optimal environment and mechanism for conducting relevant projects, including centralized clinical trial management, data management, and oversight of activities at clinical centers.
4. Investigators: For NIH StrokeNet projects, the PD(s)/PI(s) will work closely with the NIH StrokeNet investigators, who have been selected for their experience and training in stroke clinical research. While some applicants will be relatively junior in their careers, NIH StrokeNet provides a cadre of experienced clinical trial experts who can ensure high quality implementation and oversight of studies. The PD(s)/PI(s) therefore do not need to bring as much clinical research experience as they would have to bring to a non-NIH StrokeNet project.
5. Applications will be evaluated from two separate perspectives with an initial focus on the scientific rationale/premise and clinical need of the study. Proposed clinical trials must anchor their rationale in (1) an unmet medical need; (2) a plausible biological mechanism; (3) preclinical (in vitro and/or in vivo) data; and/or (4) early clinical data. Their individual weight should be carefully assessed in the specific context of the application at hand; the applicant is not required to provide support from all four areas. Assessment of the overall impact will include the evaluation of the experimental design and all of the review criteria described below.
Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).
Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.
Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is there a strong scientific premise for the project? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? Does the proposed project have commercial potential to lead to a marketable product, process or service? (In the case of Phase II, Fast-Track, and Phase II Competing Renewals, does the Commercialization Plan demonstrate a high probability of commercialization?)
How adequate and scientifically rigorous is the body of preclinical or clinical research supporting the study rationale? How compelling is the justification for the development of the proposed intervention in terms of potential advances in clinical practice, public health, and/or patient quality of life? How convincing is the evidence that equipoise exists in the medical and patient communities and the intervention is ready for clinical development?
For exploratory trials, biomarker studies, or clinical endpoint studies, evaluate whether the proposed project is likely to yield the answers needed to proceed to the next step in developing the intervention. Is it clear why the proposed study is essential to inform the design and implementation of a subsequent efficacy trial, or enable a “go/no-go” decision regarding further clinical development of the intervention?
For confirmatory trials, assess whether there is a sufficient body of preclinical and/or clinical research of high scientific rigor to support the study rationale and whether the intervention is ready for Phase 3 evaluation. Is the proposed intervention justified in terms of potential advances in clinical practice, public health, and/or patient quality of life? Is there evidence of equipoise in the medical and patient communities? Are there any ethical concerns?
Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or those in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? Evaluate whether the PDs)/PI(s) of the project is/are well-positioned to provide scientific leadership to the proposed study while collaborating with the NIH StrokeNet NCC, NDMC, and RCC investigators. Is there evidence of adequate commitment and scientific input from the NIH StrokeNet leadership?
Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed? Assess the extent to which the proposed study has the potential to advance the field (e.g., by evaluating a new target mechanism, or by advancing the validation of a biological or clinical outcome) even if (a) the proposed study design, methods, and intervention are not innovative, and/or (b) the results of the trial indicate that further clinical development of the intervention is unwarranted.
Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?
If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?
How appropriate are the primary and secondary outcome measures? How appropriate are the eligibility criteria, randomization plan (if applicable), methods of blinding, sample size, study power, data management plans, and plans for training of site personnel?
How appropriate are the milestones? How likely is the trial to be completed within the project period?
How adequate are the study documents (e.g., protocol, consent, investigator's brochure) to allowing the implementation of a high quality study? Do the study documents comply with Good Clinical Practice (GCP)?
How well does the project leverage the use of existing NIH tools, NINDS networks, and/or other resources?
Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangement?
While the NIH StrokeNet environment has already undergone peer review and is fully established, the following issues should be considered with respect to each application: Have the sites provided adequate or reasonable estimates of the number of patients that they expect to be able to enroll? Does this project include a partnership with the private sector (e.g. patient groups and/or industry), and if so, have agreements with proposed partners been established? Have any foreign organizations involved in the proposed study documented the compatibility of their data collection methods with U.S. data collection methods? Is there evidence that the study drug or device will be available in sufficient quantities to ensure feasibility of the project? Are substantive letters of support or other documentation provided to assure commitment of subcontractors, consultants, and/or service agreements for personnel and facilities?
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.
Market, Customer, and Competition
Intellectual Property (IP)
For Phase II Applications, how well did the applicant demonstrate progress toward meeting the Phase I objectives, demonstrating feasibility, and providing a solid foundation for the proposed Phase II activity?
For Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Applications, reviewers will consider the following:
1. Does the Phase I application specify clear, appropriate, measurable goals (milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II?
2. To what extent was the applicant able to obtain letters of interest, additional funding commitments, and/or resources from the private sector or non-SBIR/STTR funding sources that would enhance the likelihood for commercialization?
For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.
For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.
When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.
The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following criteria: (1) description of proposed procedures involving animals, including species, strains, ages, sex, and total number to be used; (2) justifications for the use of animals versus alternative models and for the appropriateness of the species proposed; (3) interventions to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury; and (4) justification for euthanasia method if NOT consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. Reviewers will assess the use of chimpanzees as they would any other application proposing the use of vertebrate animals. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.
Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.
For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.
For Phase IIB Applications, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.
For Revisions, the committee will consider the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the Revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident.
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.
Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).
Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: (1) Data Sharing Plan; (2) Sharing Model Organisms; and (3) Genomic Data Sharing Plan.
For projects involving key biological and/or chemical resources, reviewers will comment on the brief plans proposed for identifying and ensuring the validity of those resources.
Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by NINDS, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.
As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:
Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications . Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Neurological and Stroke Council. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons. Refer to Part 1 for dates for peer review, advisory council review, and earliest start date
Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.
Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.
Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website. This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.
All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.
Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights law. This means that recipients of HHS funds must ensure equal access to their programs without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, sex and religion. This includes ensuring your programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency. HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research.
For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/laws/revisedlep.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html; and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/about/rgn-hqaddresses.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=53.
In accordance with the statutory provisions contained in Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), NIH awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements. FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award. An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS. The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.” This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.
The Office of Inspector General Hotline accepts tips from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in Department of Health & Human Services programs. The reporting individual should indicate that the fraud, waste and/or abuse concerns an SBIR/STTR grant or contract, if relevant. Report Fraud.
Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award
The following special terms of award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable OMB administrative guidelines, HHS grant administration regulations at 45 CFR Part 75, and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.
The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement, an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the awardees is anticipated during the performance of the activities. Under the cooperative agreement, the NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the recipients' activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, or a dominant role in the activities. Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility resides with the awardees for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the awardees and the NIH as defined below.
The PD(s)/PI(s) will have the primary responsibility for:
NINDS staff will have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below:
NINDS staff involvement will include oversight of the IRB-approved protocol by the NINDS Program Official, documentation of adequate serious adverse event management and reporting, and regular communications with the Principal Investigator and staff; additional involvement generally includes participation in meetings of the steering committee and other leadership committees. Specifically:
As with any award, even during the period recommended for support, continuation is conditional upon satisfactory progress. If, at any time, recruitment falls significantly below the projected milestones for recruitment, the NINDS will consider ending support and negotiating a phase-out of the award. The NINDS retains the option to obtain periodic external peer review of progress. Milestones will be established by the NINDS prior to the award of the grant based on recommendations from the primary review group. NINDs will make an award for 2 to 3 years in order to start-up the trial and establish performance feasibility. Continuation of the award past this feasibility period will be contingent upon a demonstrated ability to meet milestones indicating that the trial can be implemented as planned. Feasibility milestones will be defined at the start of each trial and will be monitored closely by the Institute-appointed DSMB and NINDS Program Official. Achievement of these milestones will be evaluated by NINDS prior to releasing funding for each year of the award and failure to achieve these milestones may lead to study termination.
Areas of Joint Responsibility include:
None: all responsibilities are divided between awardees and NIH staff as described above.
Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to dispute resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the Steering Committee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special dispute resolution procedure in no way affects the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulations 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and HHS regulations 45 CFR Part 16.
NIH requires that SBIR/STTR grantees submit the following reports within 90 days of the end of the grant budget period unless the grantee is under an extension. When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Failure to submit timely final reports may affect future funding to the organization or awards with the same PD/PI.
For details about each specific required report, see Part III. Section 5, "SBIR/STTR Award Guidelines, Reporting Requirements, and Other Considerations,” in the Supplement Grant Applications For All Competing Applications and Progress Reports.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later. All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.
In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR 75.113 and Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75, recipients that have currently active Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies with a cumulative total value greater than $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of a Federal award, must report and maintain the currency of information reported in the System for Award Management (SAM) about civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings in connection with the award or performance of a Federal award that reached final disposition within the most recent five-year period. The recipient must also make semiannual disclosures regarding such proceedings. Proceedings information will be made publicly available in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS). This is a statutory requirement under section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313). As required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April 15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal procurement contracts, will be publicly available. Full reporting requirements and procedures are found in Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75 – Award Term and Conditions for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.
We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity
and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.
GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and
process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons
registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system
problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
SBA Company Registry (Questions regarding required
registration at the SBA Company Registry and for technical questions or issues)
Website to Email: http://sbir.gov/feedback?type=reg
Claudia Scala Moy, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke (NINDS)
Stephanie Fertig, MBA
National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke (NINDS)
Chief, Scientific Review Branch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Tijuanna E. DeCoster, Ph.D., MPA
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 75.
The SBIR Program is mandated by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219), reauthorizing legislation (P.L. 99-443) P.L. 102-564, and P.L. 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011). The basic design of the NIH SBIR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) SBIR Policy Directive.
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