Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information

 

Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Funding Opportunity Title

NINDS Exploratory Clinical Trials for Small Business (R42 Clinical Trial Required)

Activity Code

R42 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grant - Phase II and Fast-Track

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-15-278

Related Notices
  • November 26, 2018 - NIH & AHRQ Announce Upcoming Updates to Application Instructions and Review Criteria for Research Grant Applications. See Notice NOT-OD-18-228.
  • July 23, 2018 - Notice of Change of Requirements and Interest in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Applications Directed at Enhanced Pain Management and Improved Treatments for Opioid Misuse and Addiction. See Notice NOT-NS-18-076.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-18-617

Companion Funding Opportunity

PAR-18-618: NINDS Exploratory Clinical Trials for Small Business (R44)

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

93.853  

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to provide a vehicle for Small Business Concerns (SBCs) submitting Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applications for investigator-initiated exploratory clinical trials to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The projects must focus on products related to the mission and goals of the NINDS and may evaluate drugs, biologics, devices, or diagnostics, as well as surgical, behavioral or rehabilitation therapies.  Only STTR Phase II and Fast-Track applications are supported under this program. STTR Phase I applications are only accepted as part of a Fast-track application.

Key Dates

 

Posted Date

February 1, 2018

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

March 5, 2018

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

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.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable.

Scientific Merit Review
Advisory Council Review
Earliest Start Date
Expiration Date

January 6, 2021

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

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.

  1. Use the NIH ASSIST system to prepare, submit and track your application online.
  2. Use an institutional system-to-system (S2S) solution to prepare and submit your application to Grants.gov and eRA Commons to track your application. Check with your institutional officials regarding availability.

  3. Use Grants.gov Workspace to prepare and submit your application and eRA Commons to track your application.
  4. Table of Contents

    Part 1. Overview Information
    Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement

    Section 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


    Part 2. Full Text of Announcement
    Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
    Purpose

    The NINDS is committed to advancing treatments for people burdened by the neurological disorders that fall under the NINDS mission. Traditionally, large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as venture capital firms, have provided the resources needed to conduct the clinical studies required to fully develop and commercialize biomedical products and technologies. More recently, however, many investors in life science technologies have shown a preference toward financing the continued development of relatively mature technologies at established companies, rather than the higher-risk, emerging technologies under development at many small businesses.  As a result, many small businesses need to have clinical data to attract sufficient third-party investment.

    This FOA supports applications from Small Business Concerns (SBCs) for exploratory clinical trials that contribute to the justification for a future trial to establish definitive efficacy (such as a Phase 3 clinical trial or a Pivotal device trial). This includes Phase 1 and 2 clinical studies of drugs, biologics and biotechnology products, feasibility studies of devices, as well as preliminary studies of surgical, behavioral or rehabilitation therapies. A wide range of trials at different stages of development are allowed, including first-in-human (as defined by the Food and Drug Administration), Phase 1 and 2 single-site clinical studies, and Phase 2b multicenter clinical studies. Applications should aim to generate data that inform further clinical development of the proposed intervention or diagnostic. The earliest studies should be designed to provide important initial information regarding the intervention (e.g., safety, tolerability, dosing). Later-stage studies will generally include randomization and blinding and should yield data that allow a clear go/no-go decision regarding whether the intervention should proceed to a definitive efficacy trial.

    This FOA is not intended to support the conduct of a clinical trial where the primary aim is to establish or confirm definitive efficacy. Applications to implement definitive efficacy trials (e.g., Phase 3 clinical trials of drugs or Pivotal device trials) should be submitted to NINDS Efficacy Clinical Trials (U01).

    Definitions

    For this funding opportunity announcement Phase 1 and 2 clinical studies or trials refer to the common phases of a clinical trial. STTR Phase I and II refer to the project phases of the STTR program.

    Specific Objectives

    Scientific/Technical Scope

    Examples of appropriate studies under this FOA include, but are not limited to, those designed to:

    NINDS recognizes that devices can differ greatly in terms of basic form and function, physiological bases for therapy, degree of invasiveness, etc. A Pivotal device study, for example, could potentially be used in support of an off-label indication of an existing market approved device, or to provide evidence for a novel device design in support of a Pre-Market Approval (PMA), Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE), 510(k) or 510(k) De Novo submission. Due to the broad scope of possible medical devices and the varied nature of the regulatory path, investigators considering applications to evaluate devices are strongly encouraged to contact Scientific/Research Staff as early as possible to discuss these issues and determine the suitability of their project for this funding mechanism.

    Applicants should take note of the following:

    (1) Consultation with NINDS: Applicants are encouraged to consult with NINDS Scientific/Research staff as plans for an application are being developed (see Section VII, Agency Contacts) and no later than 12 weeks prior to the anticipated application submission date. This early contact will provide an opportunity to clarify NINDS policies and guidelines as well as to discuss how to develop an appropriate project timeline and milestone plan, which is subject to peer review. As well, discussions regarding strategies for recruitment and inclusion of women and minorities are available.

    (2) Other Relevant Programs: NINDS supports three clinical trial networks specifically designed to implement multi-site clinical trials, and when appropriate, it is strongly preferred that such trials be considered for implementation through one of these networks. See https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Current-Research/Research-Funded-NINDS/Clinical-Research for more information:

    • NeuroNEXT (http://www.neuronext.org) - supports early phase clinical trials in neurological disorders other than stroke.
    • StrokeNet (www.nihstrokenet.org) - supports early phase as well as phase III clinical trials in stroke prevention, acute treatment, and recovery.

    Before submitting an application to this FOA, applicants are encouraged to consult with NINDS scientific/research staff to obtain feedback on the suitability of their trial for one of these networks.  An important advantage of the networks is their capacity to provide clinical, statistical, and logistical expertise in developing study protocols, as well as a standing national network of experienced clinical sites prepared to enroll study participants.

    (3) NIH Resources:

    As appropriate, applicants are encouraged to make use of the following resources for clinical research including:

    (4) IRB documentation: IRB approval is not required at the time of application submission, but is required prior to funding. As such, NINDS encourages investigators to begin these processes as early as possible. NINDS also will require documentation of any other necessary regulatory approvals (e.g., Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee) prior to funding. Applicants are encouraged to review the NIH policy concerning single IRB for multisite clinical trials (see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-16-094.html and https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-17-076.html).

    (5) Study Rationale: The rationale for a clinical trial must be based on (i) an unmet medical need; (ii) a plausible biological mechanism; and (iii) robust supporting data, e.g., from non-clinical (in vivo and/or in vitro data) studies or preliminary clinical studies that demonstrate there is an adequate scientific foundation to justify the proposed trial.  The scientific premise for the trial should be based on preclinical and/or clinical data from rigorously performed studies (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-103.html).  If previous research does not meet the rigor criteria outlined to an acceptable degree, applicants should address how the current study design addresses the deficiencies.

    (6) Efficacy: This FOA is not intended to support the conduct of a clinical trial where the primary aim is to establish or confirm definitive efficacy.  Applications to implement definitive efficacy trials (e.g., Phase 3 trials of drugs or Pivotal device trials) should be submitted to PAR-18-422, NINDS Efficacy Clinical Trials.  While an exploratory clinical trial may examine clinical outcomes or biomarker outcomes as measures of "preliminary efficacy" as a secondary aim, it is important that it not appear to be an underpowered efficacy trial.

    (7) Effect Size: A trial will not be considered for funding under this FOA when its primary objective is to estimate intervention effect size to be used in power calculations for a future efficacy clinical trial.  Effect size estimates based on small or short-term studies are often unreliable.  Power for an efficacy trial should be based on the smallest clinically meaningful effect size, which is often determined by surveying physicians or patients, or by comparison to the effect produced by existing interventions.

    (8) Ancillary studies:  Ancillary studies, defined as research undertaken to address scientific questions relevant to the parent study and that require access to data or records from the parent study, and/or involve collection of additional data, specimens, or records, will not be supported. Applicants are advised to discuss their ideas with Scientific/Research staff for direction on an appropriate funding mechanism.

    (9) Secondary Aims: For drugs and biologics, issues of study feasibility and refinement of study procedures may be addressed as secondary aims in a clinical trial, but not as the primary aim. Examples of such secondary aims include:

    • Determining the optimal measure (endpoint), its variability, and/or the optimal timing of outcome evaluations in the context of the intervention
    • Collecting information on the utility of questionnaires, rating scales, or biomarkers
    • Developing and refining data collection procedures.
    • Optimizing the administration of the study intervention.
    • Developing and refining standardized methods of assessing outcome.
    • Optimizing methods for identifying, recruiting, and retaining study participants.
    • Creating clinical trial infrastructure.

    For Early Feasibility or Traditional Feasibility studies of medical devices, issues of study feasibility and refinement of study procedures are expected to be addressed as primary aims in addition to providing initial clinical safety data at this stage. These may include:

    • Identifying appropriate modifications to the procedure or device to enable a subsequent Pivotal study on a finalized system;
    • Refining the intended use population;
    • Developing and refining data collection procedures;
    • Refining the non-clinical test plans or methodologies; and
    • Developing subsequent clinical study protocols.

    (10) Multiple Trials: There may be several questions to be answered before an efficacy trial can be designed and conducted.  The proposed study is not required to address all potential questions but the applicant should clearly detail the overall clinical development plan for the intervention, which could involve more than one exploratory trial.

    (11) Adaptive Designs: 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 Phase 1 trials in the patient population are encouraged when appropriate, as are applications that encompass Phase 1 and Phase 2a studies (early proof of mechanism or proof of concept).  Applications for seamless Phase 2/3 trials should be submitted under PAR-18-422, NINDS Efficacy Clinical Trials. For medical devices, Traditional Feasibility study designs may include, for example, single-arm studies, on-off interventions (patients as their own controls), device-device comparisons, device-drug comparisons, comparisons to historical controls, comparisons to performance criteria/goals, adaptive designs, and Bayesian designs.

    (12) Pharmacometrics: Applications seeking to obtain data needed for pharmacometric modeling are encouraged, with the ultimate aim of enabling the optimal design of a future efficacy trial of an intervention.

    (13) Innovative Technologies: Applicants are encouraged to consider utilizing (at least experimentally) digital/mobile/sensor technologies and web-based systems to facilitate data collection (including data collection in a continual, contextual, real-world setting rather than through a traditional milestone-based approach), as well as to enhance protocol adherence.

    (14) Rare Diseases: Trials in rare diseases are encouraged, and it is recognized that available patient pools may necessitate innovative trial designs to allow for the most efficient evaluation of the limited subjects available for study. 

    (15) Relationships with Patient Groups: Applicants are strongly encouraged to establish relationships with patient groups and solicit their input on recruitment, the clinical meaningfulness of the question under study, the relevance of the proposed clinical outcomes, and approaches to minimizing the burden on study subjects

    (16) Biomarkers: Applications are encouraged that evaluate preliminary efficacy based on early signals of activity on biomarkers or clinical endpoints, or that mechanistically test the activity of an intervention in terms of its presumed target(s). This FOA is not appropriate for applications primarily intended to discover biomarkers.     

    See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.

    Section II. Award Information
    Funding Instrument

    Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

    Application Types Allowed

    New (Fast-Track)

    Renewal (Phase II* Direct Phase II not allowed)

    Resubmission (Fast-Track and Phase II)

    Revision

    The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide provide details on these application types.

    Clinical Trial?

    Required: Only accepting applications that propose clinical trial(s)

    Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

    Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

    The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

    Award Budget

    According to statutory guidelines, total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fee) 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% ($225,000 for Phase I and $1,500,000 for Phase II).

    However, NIH can apply for a waiver from SBA to issue an award exceeding these amounts under appropriate circumstances. The current list of approved topics can be found at https://sbir.nih.gov/funding#omni-sbir. Applications 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.

    Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIH program officials prior to submitting any application in excess of the guidelines. In all cases, applicants should propose a budget that is reasonable and appropriate for completion of the research project.

    Award Project Period

    Durations up to 2 years for 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 from this FOA.

    Section III. Eligibility Information
    1. Eligible Applicants
    Eligible Organizations

    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;

    3.     

                        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.

    Definitions:

    • Hedge fund has the meaning given that term in section 13(h)(2) of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1851(h)(2)). The hedge fund must have a place of business located in the United States and be created or organized in the United States, or under the law of the United States or of any State.
    • Portfolio company means any company that is owned in whole or part by a venture capital operating company, hedge fund, or private equity firm.
    • Private equity firm has the meaning given the term "private equity fund" in section 13(h)(2) of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1851(h)(2)). The private equity firm must have a place of business located in the United States and be created or organized in the United States, or under the law of the United States or of any State.
    • Venture capital operating company means an entity described in § 121.103(b)(5)(i), (v), or (vi). The venture capital operating company must have a place of business located in the United States and be created or organized in the United States, or under the law of the United States or of any State.

    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 apply for 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 do not meet or exceed the benchmark rate will not be eligible to apply for a Phase I, Fast-Track, or Direct Phase II, as appropriate, 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 apply for New Phase I, Fast-track or Direct Phase II awards for a period of one year. 

    Foreign Institutions

    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.

    Required Registrations

    Applicant Organizations

    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.

    • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM, SBA Company registry, and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
    • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
    • SBA Company Registry –See Section IV. Application and Submission Information, "SF424(R&R) Other Project Information Component" for instructions on how to register and how to attach proof of registration to your application package.  Applicants must have a DUNS number to complete this registration.  SBA Company registration is NOT required before SAM, Grants.gov or eRA Commons registration.
    • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
    • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

    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.

    Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

    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.

    For the STTR program, the PD(s)/PI(s) may be employed with the SBC or the single, "partnering" non-profit research institution as long as s/he has a formal appointment with or commitment to the applicant SBC, which is characterized by an official relationship between the SBC and that individual. Each PD/PI must commit a minimum of 10% effort to the project and the PD/PI must have a formal appointment with or commitment to the applicant small business concern, which is characterized by an official relationship between the small business concern and that individual. Such a relationship does not necessarily involve a salary or other form of remuneration.

    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.

    2. Cost Sharing

    This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

    3. Additional Information on Eligibility
    Number of Applications

    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 new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
    • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
    • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101).

    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.

    Contractual/Consortium Arrangements

    In Phase I and Phase II, at least 40% of the research or analytical effort must be performed by the small business concern and at least 30% of the research or analytical effort must be performed by the single, "partnering" research institution. The basis for determining the percentage of work to be performed by each of the cooperative parties will be the total of direct and F&A/indirect costs attributable to each party, unless otherwise described and justified in "Consortium/Contractual Arrangements" of the PHS 398 Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R) application forms.

    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.

    Section IV. Application and Submission Information
    1. Requesting an Application Package

    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.

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission

    It is critical that applicants follow the SBIR/STTR (B) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide, 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.

    Letter of Intent

    Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

    By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

    • Descriptive title of proposed activity
    • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
    • Names of other key personnel
    • Participating institution(s)
    • Number and title of this funding opportunity


    The letter of intent should be sent to:

    Stephanie Fertig
    Telephone: 301-496-1779
    Email: fertigs@ninds.nih.gov

    Page Limitations

    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.

    SF424(R&R) Cover

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.  

    SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.  

    SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions.

    SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile Expanded

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.

    Clinical trials must be directed by PD(s)/PI(s) with experience in the conduct of clinical trials and expertise in the disease area. Such experience must be documented, including timely submission of primary publications from previous trials, ideally within one year of completion of subject follow-up. The biosketches should also indicate the prior experience of other study team members in clinical trial design and implementation.

    R&R Budget

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.  

    Applicants should budget for the services of a Medical Safety Monitor (who should be independent of the study investigators) to provide timely review of Serious Adverse Events (SAEs). Additionally, if it is anticipated that the NINDS will decide to appoint a Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), applicants should expect an annual one-day, in-person meeting of the DSMB and should budget to allow up to 6 persons from the investigator team to attend. (The travel expenses of DSMB members and the meeting room rental will be handled by NINDS.)

    If some trial costs are to be borne by sources other than NIH, these contributions must be presented in detail in the budget justification.  These costs borne by third parties do not constitute cost-sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement and should not be presented as part of the requested budget.

    R&R Subaward Budget

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.  

    PHS 398 Research Plan

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

    Research Strategy: The scientific rationale and preliminary data supporting the proposed clinical trial, including results from preclinical and clinical studies, and an overview of the current status of therapeutics for the disease, must be included in the application. Applicants should ensure that the data supporting the proposed trial meet the NIH scientific rigor guidelines (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-103.html). If a proposed trial plans to study the intervention(s) based upon preclinical mechanistic studies, results from such studies should be summarized and referenced. If preclinical data (e.g. animal studies) do not meet the rigor guidelines, the applicant should discuss the limitations of those data and any plans to address those gaps in knowledge through the current study design.

    Significance and Biological Relevance: The significance of the proposed clinical trial must be clearly stated, and a discussion of the risks and benefits should be included. It is particularly important to discuss how results of the trial (positive or negative) will advance product development. The application should explain why the proposed trial is necessary to inform the design of a subsequent clinical trial for efficacy.

    Preliminary Studies: The major findings of the preclinical and clinical studies that led to the proposed clinical trial should be presented and discussed in the context of the NIH rigor guidelines.  Data from previous studies that support the proposed hypotheses and the feasibility of the trial should also be included. Study conceptualization and planning must be at a stage sufficient to allow for an assessment of the likelihood of trial success.

    Approach: A concise summary of the proposed research plan should include:

    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. Applicants are also encouraged to include documentation of the commitment of any subcontractors and consultants as well as service agreements for personnel or facilities. Letters of commitment must be co-signed by the business official of the collaborating center.

    • If there are agreements with collaborating industry partners, include documentation of the agreements, co-signed by a business official and an appropriate official at the company.
    • If CTSA resources will be utilized, include letter of support from each site CTSA program officer concurring with the specific plan for using these resources.
    • If some trial costs are to be borne by sources other than NIH, include documentation of this support, signed by individuals who have the authority to make a commitment on behalf of the organization they represent.

    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 modification:

    All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan. Investigators are expected to include a description of how final research data will be shared, or explain why data-sharing is not possible. Applicants are encouraged to discuss data-sharing plans with their NIH program contact (see the NIH Data Sharing Policy, https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing).

    Appendix:

    Note that Phase I SBIR/STTR Appendix materials are not permitted.  Limited items are allowed in the Appendix of other small business applications.  The instructions for the Appendix of the Research Plan are described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide Instructions.

    SBIR/STTR Information

    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 SBIR 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:

    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:

    • Has the company gone through any name changes within the past five years? If so, then all previous company names should be listed in the application.
    • Is the company a subsidiary or a spin-off? If so, then the name of the parent company should be provided.
    • What percentage of the company's revenue was derived from SBIR/STTR funding during each of the past 5 years, including both Phase I and Phase II awards? Applicants should report a percentage value for each year individually.
    • What is the total number of SBIR/STTR Phase II awards that the company has received from the Federal government? For each award, companies should provide the award number, the award amount, project duration, and the name of the awarding agency.
    • What are the total revenues that have been generated to date as a result of the commercialization of the SBIR/STTR projects funded within the past 5 years?
    PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

    Use only for applications with due dates on or after January 25, 2018. When involving NIH-defined human subjects research, clinical research, and/or clinical trials follow all instructions for the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional instructions:

    If you answered "Yes" to the question "Are Human Subjects Involved?" on the R&R Other Project Information form, you must include at least one human subjects study record using the Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form or Delayed Onset Study record.

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed with the following additional instructions:

    Section 2 - Study Population Characteristics

    2.5 Recruitment and Retention Plan

    For a multicenter trial, applicants should survey the potential clinical sites to ensure that recruitment targets can be met.  Present the survey results using a table where the rows represent potential clinical sites and the columns include responses to questions from the survey.  The survey questions will depend on the nature of the trial and the protocol-specified screening procedures but might include these:

    Has the PD/PI previously recruited patients with this disease into a clinical trial?

    Does this site have all necessary equipment to complete eligibility evaluations?

    If not, how far (in miles) will patients need to travel to complete eligibility evaluations?

    What is the total number of patients seen at this site in the past 12 months?

    How many of these appear to meet the pre-screening eligibility criteria?

    How many of these are likely to be found fully eligible and consent to be enrolled?

    2.7 Study Timeline

    Applicants should provide detailed project performance and timeline objectives.  The proposed milestones must include achievable goals for each stage of the project as follows:

    Completion of start-up activities (finalization of protocol, contracting of sites, registration in ClinicalTrials.gov, completion of any final regulatory approvals, etc.)

    Earliest possible enrollment date

    Enrollment of 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of the targeted sample size

    Completion of all study data collection

    Completion of primary endpoint and secondary endpoint data analyses

    Completion of final study report

    Publication of primary study results

    Reporting of results in ClinicalTrials.gov

    Submission of final public use dataset to NINDS

    If an adaptive design is to be used, indicate when adaptions will be considered.

    Section 3 - Protection and Monitoring Plans

    3.3 Data and Safety Monitoring Plan

    Applicants should refer to the NINDS Guidelines for Data and Safety Monitoring in Clinical Trials (https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Funding/Apply-Funding/Application-Support-Library/NINDS-Guidelines-Data-and-Safety-Monitoring) when developing their DSMP.

    3.5 Overall Structure of the Study Team

    Clinical Site Monitoring Plan. Describe a Clinical Site Monitoring Plan including how site adherence to the protocol and consenting process will be ensured, who is responsible for site monitoring, the frequency of planned monitoring activities, and the plan for handling deficiencies.  Also describe plans for training and, if needed, certifying site personnel to complete study procedures.

    Data Management Plan. Describe a Data Management Plan including the methods and systems for data collection and quality control, and for ensuring data confidentiality and privacy, and the process for locking the final dataset and providing for data sharing, as appropriate and consistent with achieving the goals of the program.  Describe the plans, if any, to use non-traditional data collection approaches (e.g., digital/mobile/sensor technologies and web-based systems) and why these are appropriate.

    Describe the composition and role of any advisory committees.

    Discuss the responsibilities, oversight and coordination of any centers or cores.

    Describe any subcontracts or service agreements for personnel or facilities.

    If applicable, include a statement regarding how Clinical and Translational Science award (CTSA) program (https://ctsacentral.org/) resources will be leveraged. Describe what CTSA services will be used at each participating CTSA site and how the use of the CTSA impacts the trial budget.

    Section 4 - Protocol Synopsis

    4.2.a Narrative Study Description

    As applicable, state how the following resources for clinical research will be utilized:

    NINDS Common Data Elements (https://www.commondataelements.ninds.nih.gov/#page=Default);

    NeuroQOL (http://www.healthmeasures.net/explore-measurement-systems/neuro-qol);

    NIH Toolbox (http://www.healthmeasures.net/explore-measurement-systems/nih-toolbox); and

    PROMIS (http://www.healthmeasures.net/explore-measurement-systems/promis).

    For later-stage exploratory studies, state the go/no-go criteria that will be used at the end of this exploratory trial to decide whether to proceed with a subsequent efficacy clinical trial.

    4.4 Statistical Design and Power

    Statistical Analysis Plan (SAP). Applicants should provide a Statistical Analysis Plan (SAP) including details on the analyses specified in the study protocol, including a 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, accounting for the impact of noncompliance, missing data, subject eligibility criteria, etc., sufficient details about the simulations should be provided in the SAP. 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.

    4.6 Will the study use an FDA-regulated intervention? (Yes/No Checkboxes)

    4.6.a If yes, describe the availability of Investigational Product (IP) and Investigational New Drug (IND)/Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) status

    For the attachment which accompanies this question, the applicant must provide documentation from the FDA with information indicating that they fall into 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 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. For devices, if the IRB has determined that the device is Non-Significant Risk, documentation from the IRB is acceptable.

    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.

    Delayed Onset Study

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed. 

     
    PHS Assignment Request Form

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed. 

    3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

    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.

    4. Submission Dates and Times

    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.

    5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

    This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

    6. Funding Restrictions

    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.

    7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

    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.

    Important reminders:

    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.

    Post Submission Materials

    Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in the policy -. Any instructions below are in addition to the instructions in the policy:  

    Section V. Application Review Information

    Important Update: See NOT-OD-18-228 for updated review language for due dates on or after January 25, 2019.

    1. Criteria

    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.

    A proposed Clinical Trial application may include study design, methods, and intervention that are not by themselves innovative but address important questions or unmet needs. Additionally, the results of the clinical trial may indicate that further clinical development of the intervention is unwarranted or lead to new avenues of scientific investigation.

    Overall Impact

    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).

    Scored Review Criteria

    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.

    Significance

    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?)

    Are the scientific rationale and need for a clinical trial to test the proposed hypothesis or intervention well supported by preliminary data, clinical and/or preclinical studies, or information in the literature or knowledge of biological mechanisms? For trials focusing on clinical or public health endpoints, is this clinical trial necessary for testing the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of an intervention that could lead to a change in clinical practice, community behaviors or health care policy?  For trials focusing on mechanistic, behavioral, physiological, biochemical, or other biomedical endpoints, is this trial needed to advance scientific understanding?

    • If preclinical data (e.g. animal studies) do not meet the rigor guidelines, how well does the application discuss the limitations of those data?  How well will the current study design address those gaps in knowledge?
    • How convincing is the evidence that equipoise exists in the medical and patient communities and the intervention is ready for clinical development? 
    • How essential is the proposed exploratory trial to inform the design and implementation of subsequent steps in the evaluation of the intervention?
    • For Renewal applications to complete the aims of the original trial: Has the rationale or significance of the trial changed (e.g., recent relevant findings or new treatments that would alter the trial impact)? 
    Investigator(s)

    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?   

    With regard to the proposed leadership for the project, do the PD/PI(s) and key personnel have the expertise, experience, and ability to organize, manage and implement the proposed clinical trial and meet milestones and timelines? Do they have appropriate expertise in study coordination, data management and statistics? For a multicenter trial, is the organizational structure appropriate and does the application identify a core of potential center investigators and staffing for a coordinating center?

    Innovation

    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? 

    Does the design/research plan include innovative elements, as appropriate, that enhance its sensitivity, potential for information or potential to advance scientific knowledge or clinical practice?

    How significant an advantage does the proposed technology/product offer over all existing approaches as well as those in development for the same indication regardless of therapeutic classes?

    If the proposed technology/product is trying to improve over early generations that may or may not have been marketed, are the potential advantages truly significant?

    Approach

    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? For a Phase I application, are there clear, appropriate, measurable goals (milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II? 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? 

    Does the application adequately address the following, if applicable

    Study Design

    Is the study design justified and appropriate to address primary and secondary outcome variable(s)/endpoints that will be clear, informative and relevant to the hypothesis being tested? Is the scientific rationale/premise of the study based on previously well-designed preclinical and/or clinical research? Given the methods used to assign participants and deliver interventions, is the study design adequately powered to answer the research question(s), test the proposed hypothesis/hypotheses, and provide interpretable results? Is the trial appropriately designed to conduct the research efficiently? Are the study populations (size, gender, age, demographic group), proposed intervention arms/dose, and duration of the trial, appropriate and well justified?

    Are potential ethical issues adequately addressed? Is the process for obtaining informed consent or assent appropriate? Is the eligible population available? Are the plans for recruitment outreach, enrollment, retention, handling dropouts, missed visits, and losses to follow-up appropriate to ensure robust data collection? Are the planned recruitment timelines feasible and is the plan to monitor accrual adequate? Has the need for randomization (or not), masking (if appropriate), controls, and inclusion/exclusion criteria been addressed? Are differences addressed, if applicable, in the intervention effect due to sex/gender and race/ethnicity?

    Are the plans to standardize, assure quality of, and monitor adherence to, the trial protocol and data collection or distribution guidelines appropriate? Is there a plan to obtain required study agent(s)? Does the application propose to use existing available resources, as applicable?

    Data Management and Statistical Analysis

    Are the planned analyses and statistical approach appropriate for the proposed study design and methods used to assign participants and deliver interventions? Are the procedures for data management and quality control of data adequate at clinical site(s) or at center laboratories, as applicable? Have the methods for standardization of procedures for data management to assess the effect of the intervention and quality control been addressed? Is there a plan to complete data analysis within the proposed period of the award?

    • How well does the application outline specific plans for clinical development of the intervention beyond this exploratory clinical trial?
    • For later-stage exploratory trials: How appropriate are the go/no-go criteria for proceeding with a subsequent efficacy clinical trial?
    • How well does the application show evidence of involvement of patient groups in study design and recruitment plans?
    • How well does the project leverage the use of existing NIH tools and other resources, including partnership with existing research networks?
    • For renewal applications to complete the aims of the original trial:
    • Has the administration of the trial to date been appropriate? 
    • Has recruitment proceeded at the expected rate, and if not, are the plans to reach the desired sample size appropriate?
    • Is the trial as designed and executed likely to achieve the stated aims?
    • Has appropriate consideration been given to utilizing the NINDS Common Data Elements?
    Environment

    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? 

    If proposed, are the administrative, data coordinating, enrollment and laboratory/testing centers, appropriate for the trial proposed?

    Does the application adequately address the capability and ability to conduct the trial at the proposed site(s) or centers? Are the plans to add or drop enrollment centers, as needed, appropriate?

    If international site(s) is/are proposed, does the application adequately address the complexity of executing the clinical trial?

    If multi-sites/centers, is there evidence of the ability of the individual site or center to: (1) enroll the proposed numbers; (2) adhere to the protocol; (3) collect and transmit data in an accurate and timely fashion; and, (4) operate within the proposed organizational structure?

    To what extent does the applicant SBC have the ability to address regulatory issues, either through their own staff members or through appropriate arrangements with external regulatory consultants?

     
    Additional Review Criteria

    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.

    Study Timeline

    Is the study timeline described in detail, taking into account start-up activities, the anticipated rate of enrollment, and planned follow-up assessment? Is the projected timeline feasible and well justified? Does the project incorporate efficiencies and utilize existing resources (e.g., CTSAs, practice-based research networks, electronic medical records, administrative database, or patient registries) to increase the efficiency of participant enrollment and data collection, as appropriate?

    Are potential challenges and corresponding solutions discussed (e.g., strategies that can be implemented in the event of enrollment shortfalls)?

    Market, Customer, and Competition

    How compelling is the value proposition, and to what extent does the application demonstrate a substantial market-pull for the technology under development? How well has the applicant described the market niche(s) for the product/ technology, and how urgent is the unmet need(s) being addressed? To what extent has the applicant identified realistic, market-based milestones that can be achieved over the next five years?

    How well has the applicant demonstrated an understanding of the competitive environment in which they plan to sell their product? To what extent has the applicant identified their customers and demonstrated a clear understanding of their needs? How well has the company addressed potential hurdles that may delay or prevent acceptance of their product? How reasonable are the applicant's plans for generating a revenue stream, and how realistic are the revenue projections?

    Company

    How well can the applicant SBC sustain itself and grow as a business? To what extent will the applicant's business alliances and/or corporate partnerships help in facilitating commercialization? For example, will third-party investors play an active role in facilitating the commercialization of the product/technology, and if so to what extent?

    To what extent do the prior experience and qualifications of the project team members lend confidence that the team will be successful in commercializing the proposed product/technology? For example, how successful have the PD(s)/PI(s) been in commercializing other SBIR/STTR supported technologies and discoveries in the past?

    If the SBC has received previous SBIR/STTR funding from ANY Federal agency, then how successful is the company's track record in commercializing prior SBIR/STTR projects?

     
    Phase II Applications

    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?

    Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Applications

    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?

    Protections for Human Subjects

    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.

    Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children

    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.

    Vertebrate Animals

    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.

    Biohazards

    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.

    Resubmissions

    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.

    Phase IIB Competing Renewals

    Not applicable.

    Revisions

    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.

    Additional Review Considerations

    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.

    Select Agent Research

    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).

    Resource Sharing Plans

    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.

    Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources

    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.

    Budget and Period of Support

    Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

    2. Review and Selection Process

    Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by CSR, 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:

    • May undergo a committee process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
    • Will receive a written critique.

    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 appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

    • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
    • Availability of funds.
    • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
    3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

    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.

    Section VI. Award Administration Information
    1. Award Notices

    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.

    Individual awards are based on the application submitted to, and as approved by, the NIH and are subject to the IC-specific terms and conditions identified in the NoA.  ClinicalTrials.gov: If an award provides for one or more clinical trials. By law (Title VIII, Section 801 of Public Law 110-85), the "responsible party" must register and submit results information for certain "applicable clinical trials" on the ClinicalTrials.gov Protocol Registration and Results System Information Website (https://register.clinicaltrials.gov). NIH expects registration of all trials whether required under the law or not. For more information, see http://grants.nih.gov/ClinicalTrials_fdaaa/ 

    Institutional Review Board or Independent Ethics Committee Approval: Grantee institutions must ensure that the application as well as all protocols are reviewed by their IRB or IEC. To help ensure the safety of participants enrolled in NIH-funded studies, the awardee must provide NIH copies of documents related to all major changes in the status of ongoing protocols.  Data and Safety Monitoring Requirements: The NIH policy for data and safety monitoring requires oversight and monitoring of all NIH-conducted or -supported human biomedical and behavioral intervention studies (clinical trials) to ensure the safety of participants and the validity and integrity of the data. Further information concerning these requirements is found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/hs/data_safety.htm and in the application instructions (SF424 (R&R) and PHS 398).

    Investigational New Drug or Investigational Device Exemption Requirements: Consistent with federal regulations, clinical research projects involving the use of investigational therapeutics, vaccines, or other medical interventions (including licensed products and devices for a purpose other than that for which they were licensed) in humans under a research protocol must be performed under a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigational new drug (IND) or investigational device exemption (IDE).     

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    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 https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/special-topics/limited-english-proficiency/index.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 https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/laws-regulations-guidance/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 https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/contact-us/index.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.

    Report fraud, waste and abuse

    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

    Not Applicable

    3. Reporting

    NIH requires that SBIR/STTR grantees submit the following reports within 120 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.

    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.

    Section VII. Agency Contacts

    We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

    Application Submission Contacts

    Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
    Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
    Email: support@grants.gov

    GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
    Telephone: 301-945-7573

    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

    Scientific/Research Contact(s)

    Stephanie Fertig, MBA
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
    Telephone: 301-496-1778
    Email: fertigs@ninds.nih.gov

    Peer Review Contact(s)

    Examine your eRA Commons account for review assignment and contact information (information appears two weeks after the submission due date).

    Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

    Tijuanna E. DeCoster, Ph.D.
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
    Telephone: 301-496-9231
    Email: decostert@mail.nih.gov

    Section VIII. Other Information

    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.

    Authority and Regulations

    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 STTR Program is mandated by the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-135), and reauthorizing legislation, P.L. 107-50, P.L. 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011), and as reauthorized and extended under P.L. 114-328, Section 1834. The basic design of the NIH STTR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) STTR Policy Directive

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