Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information

Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

Funding Opportunity Title
Industrialization and Translation of Extracellular Vesicles for use in Regenerative Medicine (UT1/UT2) Clinical Trial Not Allowed
Activity Code

UT1 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Cooperative Agreements – Phase I

UT2 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) – Cooperative Agreements - Phase II

Announcement Type
New
Related Notices

March 4, 2024 - Notice of Change to Application Types Allowed in PAR-23-268. See Notice NOT-TR-24-019.

November 14, 2023 - Clarification of Implementation of the NIH SBIR and STTR Foreign Disclosure Pre-award and Post-Award Requirements. See Notice NOT-OD-24-029

June 12, 2023 - Implementation of the NIH SBIR and STTR Foreign Disclosure Pre-award and Post-Award Requirements. See NOT-OD-23-139. (See updates incorporated into NOFO content in Sections IV, V, VI, and VIII applicable for applications submitted for due dates on or after September 5, 2023.)

NOT-OD-22-195 - New NIH "FORMS-H" Grant Application Forms and Instructions Coming for Due Dates on or after January 25, 2023

NOT-OD-22-189 - Implementation Details for the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy

NOT-OD-22-198 -  Implementation Changes for Genomic Data Sharing Plans Included with Applications Due on or after January 25, 2023

NOT-OD-23-012 - Reminder: FORMS-H Grant Application Forms & Instructions Must be Used for Due Dates On or After January 25, 2023 - New Grant Application Instructions Now Available

NOT-OD-23-092 - Notice of Change to Minimum Performance Standards for SBIR and STTR Applicants

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
PAR-23-268
Companion Funding Opportunity
PAR-23-267 , U43/ U44 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Cooperative Agreements - Phase I/ Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Cooperative Agreements - Phase II
Assistance Listing Number
93.350
Funding Opportunity Purpose

This notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) provides support using the STTR cooperative agreement mechanisms for the development of novel extracellular vesicle-based therapeutic platforms for use in regenerative medicine. Both native and engineered EVs have demonstrated the ability for specific and targeted tissue and organ repair, which can be harnessed for applications such as extracellular vesicle-based therapeutics. The main objective for this funding opportunity is to support platform-oriented technology development associated with the production, manufacturing, and use, of extracellular vesicles as therapeutics in regenerative medicine.   

Key Dates

Posted Date
April 18, 2023
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
May 06, 2023
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Dates Review and Award Cycles
New Renewal / Resubmission / Revision (as allowed) AIDS Scientific Merit Review Advisory Council Review Earliest Start Date
June 06, 2023 June 06, 2023 Not Applicable November 2023 January 2024 April 2024
June 06, 2024 June 06, 2024 Not Applicable November 2024 January 2025 April 2025
June 06, 2025 June 06, 2025 Not Applicable November 2025 January 2026 April 2026

All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. 

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.

Expiration Date
June 07, 2025
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 2. Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

 

 Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites eligible United States small business concerns (SBCs) to submit Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I and Phase II (Fast track) grant applications. The funding opportunity will utilize a UT1/UT2 cooperative agreement to support SBCs to propose the development of novel extracellular vesicle (EV)-based therapeutic platforms for use in regenerative medicine. This FOA is focused on the development of platforms associated with the production, manufacturing, and use, of native or engineered EVs as therapeutics. The EV products should have therapeutic applications in the area of tissue and organ repair in regenerative medicine.

Background

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are endogenous membrane-enclosed carriers of bioactive protein, lipids and nucleic acids that are used for intercellular communication. The term, extracellular vesicles, is generic term used for particles released from the cell that are delimited by a lipid bilayer that cannot replicate. However, there are multiple EVs subpopulations that can be differentiated based on a criteria including: size, biogenesis, release pathways, cargo, and function. EVs are released by virtually all cell types and EV-based intercellular communication take place during normal cell homeostasis, or as a consequence of pathological development. EVs can cross biological barriers, can be modified to load molecular drugs, have few known deleterious effects and are relatively non-immunogenic, and can maintain their activity during storage. Several NIH programs have supported studies to understand the biology of EVs, and exosomes, and their potential use as therapeutics and diagnostics. This includes the NIH Common Fund's Extracellular RNA Communication Program (https://commonfund.nih.gov/exrna) which aimed to develop novel tools and technologies for the isolation and analysis of single EVs. However, there are a number of challenges in the use of EVs as therapeutics. This includes (but is not limited to) the production of sufficient quantities of EVs for therapeutic use, labor-intensive EV isolation procedures that are often not compatible with large-scale GMP manufacturing, and non-specific EV isolation methodologies. 

The goal of regenerative medicine is to regain or restore damaged or lost function of tissues and organs. The NIH Common Fund's Regenerative Medicine program (https://commonfund.nih.gov/stemcells) concluded in 2020 and aimed to accelerate breakthroughs in the development of stem cell-based therapies for complex diseases. In addition to developing a clinical-grade, current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) iPSC line, this program established the Stem Cell Translation Laboratory (SCTL) (https://ncats.nih.gov/stemcell), within the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) with the goal of bringing induced pluripotent stem cell technologies closer to clinical applications. Despite these successes, major challenges remain in regenerative medicine, particularly in tissue regeneration and repair.

There have been numerous studies demonstrating the ability of EVs as potential regenerative entities, particularly for their role in the repair and regeneration of various organs and tissue types. Recent studies have demonstrated that native EVs derived from stem cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), have inherent therapeutic potential. EVs are able to affect cell phenotype, recruitment, proliferation, and differentiation in a paracrine manner resulting in many potential applications in the field of regenerative medicine. Engineered EVs can be loaded with cargo such as small molecule therapeutics, genetic modifications, and surface markers modified for specific therapeutic targeting. Many diseases could benefit from novel EV-based therapeutics. However, this FOA will focus on tissue and organ repair, and wound healing within regenerative medicine to address current challenges in the field, and to harness the advances made in regenerative medicine from previously funded NIH programs. It is anticipated that the use non-living cellular products, such as EVs, for applications in regenerative medicine will lead to better translation into the clinic. 

Specific Objectives

The goal for this funding opportunity is to support platform-oriented technology development associated with the production, manufacturing, and use, of EVs as therapeutics in regenerative medicine. Applications should focus on the large-scale GMP grade production and manufacturing challenges associated with the use of EVs as therapeutics. 

EV therapeutics would include, but are not limited to:

       1) direct EV therapy (stem cell-isolated EVs produced under GLP conditions, and stored as off-the-shelf therapies); 

       2) designer EVs (personalized to the individual patient’s needs).

Cell source can significantly influence the EV manufacturing process. Cell sources used for EV production should be well-characterized and reproducible to ensure consistency across preparations. GMP production grade EV products should be assessed and well-characterized for attributes such as purity (and the presence of contaminating factors), EV biophysical properties, and EV content, as critical quality control measures. 

Specific program objectives include:

1) The demonstrated ability to utilize stem cells such as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), or individual patient cells, to create EVs for specific and targeted tissue and organ repair.

2) The demonstration of GMP grade production of EVs for therapeutic applications. 

3) The demonstration of the ability to repair and/or replace diseased organs for a specific human disorder relevant to regenerative medicine. Priority will be given to applications focusing on tissue/organ repair, and wound healing.

4) The validation of therapeutic benefits in vivo or ex vivo for the technology proposed.

Phase I applications should include initial proof of concept studies focusing on feasibility and therapeutic applications in regenerative medicine. Phase II applications should optimize, refine, and scale-up technology platforms for the production and manufacturing of EVs using well-characterized cell sources and production-grade EV products. The validation of therapeutic benefits is required for phase II applications. 

This FOA will prioritize IND enabling therapeutic platforms that have the ability to work toward regulatory approval and commercialization. Regulatory engagement with the Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies (OTAT) at the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) is recommended, particularly for phase 2 applications. Applications should address the expected commercial impact of the proposed technology platform.

Applications Not Responsive to this FOA

The following types of studies are not responsive to this FOA. Applications proposing such studies will be considered non-responsive and will not be reviewed or considered for funding.

- Projects are focused on the generation of liposome or other nanoparticle-based therapeutics.

- Therapeutic applications outside the area of regenerative medicine.   

All applications must include project milestones as detailed in Section IV.2 - Application and Submission Information. Applicants are encouraged to contact staff at NCATS per Agency Contacts below to ensure that their aims and objectives are in line with the goals of the FOA.

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

Section II. Award Information

Funding Instrument

Cooperative Agreement: A support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement. Substantial involvement means that, after award, NIH scientific or program staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities. See Section VI.2 for additional information about the substantial involvement for this FOA.

Application Types Allowed
New (Phase I, Fast-Track)
Resubmission (All Phases)
New (Phase I)
The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types. Only those application types listed here are allowed for the FOA.  
Clinical Trial?
Not Allowed: Only accepting applications that do not propose clinical trials
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

Total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fee) normally may not exceed $295,924 for Phase I awards and $1,972,828 for Phase II awards. For specific topics, NIH may exceed these total award amounts. The current list of approved topics can be found at https://seed.nih.gov/sites/default/files/NIH_Topics_for_Budget_Waivers.pdf.

 Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program officials prior to submitting any application in excess of the total award amounts listed above and early in the application planning process. In all cases, applicants should propose a budget that is reasonable and appropriate for completion of the research project.   

Budgets up to $325,000 total costs  for Phase I and up to $2M total costs for Phase II may be requested utilizing waiver topics listed at https://seed.nih.gov/sites/default/files/HHS_Topics_for_Budget_Waivers.pdf

Award Project Period

According to statutory guidelines, award periods normally may not exceed 1 year for Phase I and 2 years for Phase II. Applicants are encouraged to propose a project duration period that is reasonable and appropriate for completion of the research project.

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), an Indian tribe, ANC or NHO (or a wholly owned business entity of such tribe, ANC or NHO), 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, unless that single venture capital operating company, hedge fund, or private equity firm qualifies as a small business concern that is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States; 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.
  • ANC means Alaska Native Corporation.
  • NHO means Native Hawaiian Organization.


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.
 

Performance Benchmark Requirements

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 and the SBIR and STTR Extension Act of 2022. The benchmark establishes a minimum number of Phase II awards the company must have received relative to a given number of Phase I awards received during the 5-fiscal year time period. 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 Transition Rate requirement, agreed upon and established by all 11 SBIR agencies, was published for public comment in a Federal Register Notice on October 16, 2012 (77 FR 63410) and amended on May 23, 2013 (78 FR 30951).

  • For 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): Companies that do not meet or exceed the benchmark minimum Transition Rate of 0.25 will not be eligible to apply for a Phase I, Fast-Track, or Direct Phase II (if available) award for a period of one year from the date of the application submission. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 20 or fewer Phase I awards over the prior 5-fiscal year period.
  • For application deadlines that fall on or after April 5, 2023: For SBIR and STTR Phase I applicants that have received more than 50 Phase I awards over the past 5 fiscal years (excluding the most recently-completed fiscal year): Companies that do not meet or exceed the benchmark minimum Transition Rate of 0.5 will not be eligible to receive more than 20 total Phase I and Phase II awards for a period of one year from the date on which such determination is made. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 50 or fewer Phase I awards over the 5-fiscal year period.

On June 1 of each year, SBA will identify the companies that fail to meet minimum performance requirements.SBA calculates individual company Phase I to Phase II Transition Rates using SBIR and STTR award information across all federal agencies. SBA will notify companies and the relevant officials at the participating agencies. More information on the Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate requirement is available at SBIR.gov.

Phase II to Commercialization Benchmark: In accordance with guidance from the SBA, the HHS SBIR/STTR Programs are implementing the Phase II to Commercialization Rate benchmark for Phase I applicants, as required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 and the SBIR and STTR Extension Act of 2022. The Commercialization Rate Benchmark was published in a Federal Register notice on August 8, 2013 (78 FR 48537), with a reopening of the comment period published on September 26, 2013 (78 FR 59410).

  • For companies that have received more than 15 Phase II awards from all agencies over the past 10 fiscal years (excluding the two most recently completed fiscal year): 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 during the past 10- fiscal year period. Applicants that fail this benchmark will not be eligible to apply for New Phase I, Fast-track or Direct Phase II (if applicable) awards for a period of one year. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 15 or fewer Phase II awards over the 10-fiscal year period, excluding the two most recently-completed fiscal years.
  • For application deadlines that fall on or after April 5, 2023: For companies that have received more than 50 Phase II awards from all agencies over the past 10-fiscal years (excluding the two most recently completed Fiscal Year): Companies that meet this criterion must show an average of at least $250,000 of aggregated sales and investment per Phase II award over the past 10-fiscal year period. Applicants that fail this benchmark will not be eligible to receive more than 20 total Phase I and Phase II awards for a period of one year from the date on which such determination is made.  This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 50 or fewer Phase II awards over the 10-fiscal year period, excluding the two most recently-completed fiscal years.
  • For application deadlines that fall on or after April 5, 2023: For companies that have received more than 100 Phase II awards from all agencies over the past 10-fiscal years (excluding the two most recently completed Fiscal Year): Companies that meet this criterion must show an average of at least $450,000 of aggregated sales and investment per Phase II award over the past 10-fiscal year period. Applicants that fail this benchmark will not be eligible to receive more than 20 total Phase I and Phase II awards for a period of one year from the date on which such determination is made.  This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 100 or fewer Phase II awards over the 10-fiscal year period, excluding the two most recently-completed fiscal years.

On June 1 of each year, SBA will identify the companies that fail to meet minimum performance requirements. SBA will notify companies and the relevant officials at the participating agencies.  More information on the Phase II to Commercialization requirement is available at SBIR.gov.

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.

  • System for Award Management (SAM)– 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.
    • Unique Entity Identifier (UEI)- A UEI is issued as part of the SAM.gov registration process. The same UEI must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • SBA Company Registry –See SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide for instructions on how to register and how to attach proof of registration to your application package. Applicants must have a UEI to complete this registration. SBA Company registration is NOT required before SAM, Grants.gov or eRA Commons registration.
  • eRA Commons - Once the unique organization identifier is established, organizations can register with eRA Commons in tandem with completing their Grants.gov registration; all registrations must be in place by time of submission. 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 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 diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. See, Reminder: Notice of NIH's Encouragement of Applications Supporting Individuals from Underrepresented Ethnic and Racial Groups as well as Individuals with Disabilities, NOT-OD-22-019

For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

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, per 2.3.7.4 Submission of Resubmission Application. 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.

A Phase I recipient may submit a Phase II application either before or after expiration of the Phase I budget period, unless the recipient 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 recipient should submit a Phase II application, and a Phase II recipient 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

The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST, Grants.gov Workspace or an institutional system-to-system solution. Links to apply using ASSIST or Grants.gov Workspace 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.

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:
Rahat Khan, Ph.D. 
Telephone: 301-594-7319 
Email: rahat.khan@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 SF424 (R&R) 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#38;R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed with the following additional instructions:

SBIR/STTR Information 

Commercialization plan. All applications are expected to describe a realistic strategy that outlines how and when full commercialization can be accomplished. The full commercialization plan for the platform should extend beyond the period of STTR funding. 

The instructions for the Commercialization 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.

The following considerations should be included in the Commercialization plan:

- Applicants must indicate how the proposed platform for the production, manufacturing, and use, of extracellular vesicles as therapeutics has significant commercial potential. 

- Applicants must address their intellectual property (IP) portfolio/position (pertinent to the proposed project) and any strategic collaborations and partnerships to further the adoption and commercialization of their IP.

- Applicants must address how the proposed technology platform will enable a FDA IND application.

Facilities & Other Resources (Applicable to applications submitted for due dates on or after September 5, 2023)

In addition to describing the scientific environment and the company support, the applicant must describe the business environment and resources, or how the company will obtain access to the appropriate business resources, for completing and commercializing the proposed product or service. This includes any relevant intellectual property associated with the project necessary to facilitate commercialization.

Other Attachments:

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

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

R&R Budget

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

R&R Subaward Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR 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.

In addition to standard content of Research Strategy, the applicants must address the following items. 

Milestones. Applicants should propose milestones and timelines to be achieved during the proposed project period toward accomplishing the stated aims of the project. Milestones proposed should be specific and quantitative, and with a clear go/no-go criteria. Milestones will be subject to further negotiations and refinement post review and prior to award. These milestones will be the basis for judging the progress and successful completion of the work proposed.

Resource Sharing Plans:

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Other Plan(s)

Note: Effective for due dates on or after January 25, 2023, the Data Management and Sharing Plan will be attached in the Other Plan(s) attachment in FORMS-H application forms packages. 

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

  • All applicants planning research (funded or conducted in whole or in part by NIH) that results in the generation of scientific data are required to comply with the instructions for the Data Management and Sharing Plan. All Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) applicants are required to address a Data Management and Sharing Plan, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year. However, SBIR and STTR recipients may retain the rights to data generated during the performance of an SBIR or STTR award for up to 20 years after the award date, per the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Policy Directive. An acceptable Data Management and Sharing plan can reference and incorporate these data rights. Further information about SBIR and STTR data rights are enumerated in the NIH GPS.

Appendix:

Note that Phase I SBIR/STTR Appendix materials are not permitted.  Only 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.

PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

When involving human subjects research, clinical research, and/or NIH-defined 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.

Delayed Onset Study

Note: Delayed onset does NOT apply to a study that can be described but will not start immediately (i.e., delayed start). 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), 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 Guide.  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 How to Apply – Application Guide. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Dealing with System Issues guidance. 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 form. 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 unique entity identifier provided on the application is the same identifier used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management. Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) 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 and responsiveness by NCATS , NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed. 

In order to expedite review, applicants are requested to notify the NCATS Referral Office by email at ncatsreferral@mail.nih.gov when the application has been submitted. Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

Post Submission Materials

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

Any instructions provided here are in addition to the instructions in the policy.

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. Applications submitted to the NIH in support of the NIH mission are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

For this particular announcement, note the following:

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 the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project rigorous? 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?)

For this particular announcement, note the following: How will the proposed technology address significant challenges in tissue and organ repair? How will successful completion of the aims bring unique advantages or capabilities to the field of EV-based therapeutics? How does  the proposed technology have potential therapeutic applications beyond regenerative medicine?

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?

For this particular announcement, note the following: How well have the investigators demonstrated expertise in the field of extracellular vesicles? How well have the investigators demonstrated expertise in the field of regenerative medicine? To what extent does the prior experience and qualifications of the project team members lend confidence that the team will be successful in commercializing the proposed product/technology?   

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?

For this particular announcement, note the following: How well does the proposed platform represent a significant step toward the use of EV-based therapeutics in the clinic? To what extent could the proposed platform catalyze the delivery of much needed treatments and cures for many human diseases?   

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators included plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed 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?

For this particular announcement, note the following: To what extent does the proposed approach result in a well-characterized EV preparation with significant therapeutic potential? To what extent does the proposed technology platform support the production, manufacturing, and use, of EVs as therapeutics? How well does the proposed application focus on tissue repair and wound healing in regenerative medicine? Describe how well  the proposed source of EVs ischaracterized? To what extent is the EV product characterized (for quality control purposes)?

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 individuals of all ages (including children and older adults), justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

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?

For this particular announcement, note the following: To what extent does the applicant's environment facilitate their ability to produce GMP grade EV preparations? To what extent does the applicant's environment facilitate their ability to address US FDA regulatory requirements? 

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.

Milestones:

Has the applicant proposed specific and quantitative milestones, and with a clear go/no-go criterion that align with the aims of the project? Are the milestone timelines reasonable in that they can be achieved during the proposed project period?   

Commercialization plan: 

How well has the applicant demonstrated an understanding of the competitive environment and potential commercial impact of the proposed technology? How strong is the applicant’s intellectual property (IP) portfolio/position (pertinent to the proposed project), and to what extent does the company have a reasonable strategy to protect its IP going forward? Has the applicant included a commercialization plan and addressed the expected commercial impact of the proposed technology platform? Has the applicant addressed how the proposed technology platform will enable a FDA IND application? Has the applicant included possible strategic collaborations and partnerships to further the adoption and commercialization of their IP?   

Phase II Applications

For Phase II Applications, how well did the applicant demonstrate progress toward meeting the Phase I (or Phase I-like) 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 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 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 Individuals Across the Lifespan

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 individuals of all ages (including children and older adults) 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 Animals 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

Not Applicable

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.

Applications with Foreign Components

Not Applicable.

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 Resource Sharing Plan(s) (e.g., Sharing Model Organisms) or the rationale for not sharing the resources, is reasonable.

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 NCATS, 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 will receive a written critique.

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.

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 NCATS Advisory Council. 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.
  • Security risk as assessed by the HHS Due Diligence Program (for due dates on or after September 5, 2023).

Disclosure Requirements Regarding Ties to Foreign Countries (Applicable for applications submitted for due dates on or after September 5, 2023)

Upon request applicants are required to disclose all funded and unfunded relationships with foreign countries, using the Required Disclosures of Foreign Affiliations or Relationships to Foreign Countries form (referred to as the "Disclosure Form" hereafter), for all owners and covered individuals. A "covered individual" is defined as all senior key personnel identified by the SBC in the application (i.e., individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way).

Upon request, applicants must submit the completed Disclosure Form and any additional agency-specific information electronically in eRA Commons via the Just-In-Time (JIT) process as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement (GPS) Section 2.5.1 Just-in-Time Procedures. Applicants must continue to comply with NIH Other Support disclosure requirements as provided in NIH GPS Section 2.5.1 and may be required to provide similar information on the Disclosure Form for covered individuals identified in the application. If participating in this NOFO, SBC applicants applying to CDC and FDA will follow each agency's policies for submitting additional documents during the pre-award process. Applicants that do not submit the completed Disclosure Form during the JIT process will be deemed noncompliant and not be considered for funding.

Denial of Awards (Applicable for applications submitted for due dates on or after September 5, 2023)

Applicants are encouraged to consider whether their entity's relationships with foreign countries of concern will pose a security risk. Prior to issuing an award, NIH (and CDC or FDA, as applicable) will determine whether the SBC submitting the application:

  • has an owner or covered individual that is party to a malign foreign talent recruitment program;
  • has a business entity, parent company, or subsidiary located in the People's Republic of China or another foreign country of concern; or
  • has an owner or covered individual that has a foreign affiliation with a research institution located in the People's Republic of China or another foreign country of concern.

A finding of foreign involvement with countries of concern will not necessarily disqualify an applicant. Final award determinations will be based on the above finding of foreign involvement and whether the applicant's involvement falls within any of the following risk criteria, per the Act:

  • interfere with the capacity for activities supported by NIH, CDC, or FDA to be carried out;
  • create duplication with activities supported by NIH, CDC, or FDA;
  • present concerns about conflicts of interest;
  • were not appropriately disclosed to NIH, CDC, or FDA;
  • violate Federal law or terms and conditions of NIH, CDC, or FDA; or
  • pose a risk to national security.

Generally, NIH, CDC, and FDA will not provide SBC applicants the opportunity to address any identified security risks prior to award. NIH, CDC, and FDA will not issue an award under the SBIR/STTR program if the covered relationship with a foreign country of concern identified in this guidance is determined to fall under any of the criteria provided .

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

For applications submitted for due dates on or after September 5, 2023, SBIR and STTR applicants under consideration for award will be required to submit the SBA U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued the Required Disclosures of Foreign Affiliations or Relationships to Foreign Countries form during the JIT process. Applicants that fail to submit a Disclosure Form will not be considered for funding.

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 recipient's business official.

Recipients 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.

Institutional Review Board or Independent Ethics Committee Approval: Recipient institutions must ensure that protocols are reviewed by their IRB or IEC. To help ensure the safety of participants enrolled in NIH-funded studies, the recipient must provide NIH copies of documents related to all major changes in the status of ongoing protocols.

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, Recipients, and Activities, including of note, but not limited to:

If a recipient is successful and receives a Notice of Award, in accepting the award, the recipient agrees that any activities under the award are subject to all provisions currently in effect or implemented during the period of the award, other Department regulations and policies in effect at the time of the award, and applicable statutory provisions.

Should the applicant organization successfully compete for an award, recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS will be required to complete an HHS Assurance of Compliance form (HHS 690) in which the recipient agrees, as a term and condition of receiving the grant, to administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex and disability, and agreeing to comply with federal conscience laws, where applicable. This includes ensuring that entities take meaningful steps to provide meaningful access to persons with limited English proficiency; and ensuring effective communication with persons with disabilities. Where applicable, Title XI and Section 1557 prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and gender identity. The HHS Office for Civil Rights provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/provider-obligations/index.html and https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/nondiscrimination/index.html

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.

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.

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 and 2 CFR Part 200.206 “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

 The following special terms of award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) administrative guidelines, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) grant administration regulations at 45 CFR Part 75, 2CER Part 200, and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement, an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the recipient is anticipated during the performance of the activities. Under the cooperative agreement, the NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the recipients' activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, or a dominant role in the activities. Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility resides with the award recipients for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the award recipients and the NIH and FDA as defined below.

The PD(s)/PI(s) will have the primary responsibility for:

- Defining the details and goals of the project as a whole within the guidelines of this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) ;

- Determining experimental approaches, designing protocols, setting project milestones and conducting experiments;

- Providing information to the NIH Program Officer(s) and Project Scientist(s) concerning progress and milestone achievement;

- Adhering to the NIH policies regarding intellectual property, data release and other policies that might be established during the course of this activity;

- Submitting quarterly progress reports in a format as agreed upon with the Program Officer;

- Analyzing, publishing and/or publicly releasing and disseminating results, data, and other products of the study in a timely manner, concordant with the approved plan for making quality-assured data and materials available to the scientific community and the NIH, consistent with NIH policies and the goals of the NOFO; and

- Participating in a cooperative and interactive manner with NIH staff and other ITERM award recipients.

Publications

The Principal Investigator will be responsible for the timely submission of all abstracts, manuscripts and reviews (co)authored by project investigators and supported in whole or in part under this Cooperative Agreement. The Principal Investigator and Project Leaders are requested to submit manuscripts to the NIH Project Scientist within two weeks of acceptance for publication so that an up-to-date summary of program accomplishments can be maintained. Publications and oral presentations of work conducted under this Cooperative Agreement are the responsibility of the Principal Investigator and appropriate Project Leaders and will require appropriate acknowledgement of NIH support. Timely publication of major findings is encouraged.

Intellectual Property

- The award recipient is solely responsible for the timely acquisition of all appropriate proprietary rights, including intellectual property rights, and all materials needed for the applicant to perform the project.

- Before, during, and subsequent to the award, the U.S. Government is not required to obtain for the recipient any proprietary rights, including intellectual property rights, or any materials needed by the recipient to perform the project.

- The recipient is required to report to the U.S. Government all inventions made in the performance of the project, as specified by 35 U.S.C. Sect. 202 (Bayh-Dole Act). 

Award recipients will retain custody of and have primary rights to the data and software developed under these awards, subject to Government rights of access consistent with current HHS, PHS, and NIH.  NIH understands that some scientific data generated with NIH funds may be proprietary. 

NIH staff have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards.

A NCATS designated NIH Program Official will be responsible for the normal programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice. The program official(s) will:

- Assist in enforcing general statutory, regulatory or administrative assistance policy requirements;

- Evaluate progress by reviews of technical or fiscal reports or by site visits to determine that performance is consistent with objectives, terms and conditions of the award;

- Ensure that activities proposed for development or implementation do not overlap or duplicate activities supported by other peer reviewed funding mechanisms;

- Review and approve all major transitional changes prior to implementation to ensure consistency with the goals of this NOFO;

- Make the final determination on the negotiated milestones and also make the final determination on whether the milestones are met;

- Enlist additional scientific experts as necessary from within the NIH or other government agencies, such as the FDA, and from industry partners to assist NIH program staff in carrying out the goals and aims of the approved studies.

- Retain the option to recommend the withholding or reduction of support from any cooperative agreement that either substantially fails to achieve its goals according to the milestones agreed to at the time of award, fails to maintain state-of-the-art capabilities, or fails to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the award.

NIH Project Scientist(s) will: 

- Provide advice in the management and technical performance of the award;

- Monitor milestone progress and help identify recourses, if needed;

- Periodically report progress to the Directors of NIH Institutes/Centers/Offices involved;

- Enlist additional scientific experts as necessary from within the NIH or other government agencies, such as the FDA, and from industry partners to assist NIH program staff in carrying out the goals and aims of the approved studies.

- Retain the option to recommend to the PO, the withholding or reduction of support from any cooperative agreement that either substantially fails to achieve its goals according to the milestones agreed to at the time of award, fails to maintain state-of-the-art capabilities, or fails to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the award.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

- Negotiate and agree on a final set of approved milestones;

- Participating in regular (monthly) conference calls to discuss progress; obstacles, and any other related issues and/or activities.

Dispute Resolution:

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to Dispute Resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual recipient. This special dispute resolution procedure does not alter the recipient's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulation 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation 45 CFR Part 16. 

3. Data Management and Sharing

Note: The NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing is effective for due dates on or after January 25, 2023.

  • Consistent with the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing, when data management and sharing is applicable to the award, recipients will be required to adhere to the Data Management and Sharing requirements as outlined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Upon the approval of a Data Management and Sharing Plan, it is required for recipients to implement the plan as described. SBIR and STTR recipients may retain the rights to data generated during the performance of an SBIR or STTR award for up to 20 years after the award date, per the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Policy Directive. An acceptable Data Management and Sharing plan can reference and incorporate these data rights. Further information about SBIR and STTR data rights are enumerated in the NIH GPS.

4. Reporting

NIH requires that SBIR/STTR recipients submit the following reports within 120 days of the end of the grant budget period unless the recipient is under an extension. When multiple years are involved, recipients 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. NIH FOAs outline intended research goals and objectives. Post award, NIH will review and measure performance based on the details and outcomes that are shared within the RPPR, as described at 2 CFR 200.301.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for recipients of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All recipients 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 the threshold. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.

In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR Part 75 and 2 CFR Part 200, 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 45 CFR Part 75 and 2 CFR Part 200 – Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

Disclosure of Foreign Relationships Reporting Requirements (Applicable for applications submitted for due dates on or after September 5, 2023)

Recipients are responsible for monitoring their relationships with foreign countries of concern post-award, for any changes that may impact previous disclosures. SBCs receiving an award under the SBIR/STTR program are required to submit an updated Disclosure Form to report any of the following changes to NIH (and CDC or FDA, as applicable) throughout the duration of the award:

  • any change to a disclosure on the Disclosure Form;
  • any material misstatement that poses a risk to national security; and
  • any change of ownership, change to entity structure, or other substantial change in circumstances of the SBC that NIH, CDC, and FDA determine poses a risk to national security.

Regular, annual updates are required at the time of all SBIR/STTR annual, interim, and final Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs). For changes that occur between RPPR submissions, updated Disclosure Forms are required within 30 days of any change in ownership, entity structure, covered individual, or other substantive changes in circumstance, as described above. Recipients are required to upload these updated disclosures using the Additional Materials (AM) tool in eRA Commons.

If the recipient reports a covered foreign relationship that meets any of the risk criteria prohibiting funding described in this NOFO, NIH, CDC, and FDA may deem it necessary to terminate the award for material failure to comply with the federal statutes, regulations, or terms and conditions of the federal award. Refer to NIH GPS Section 8.5.2 Remedies for Noncompliance or Enforcement Actions: Suspension, Termination, and Withholding of Support for more information. Recipients are encouraged to monitor their covered foreign relationships post-award and avoid entering into relationships, both funded and unfunded, that may pose a security risk and jeopardize their ability to retain their award.

Agency Recovery Authority and Repayment of Funds

An SBC will be required to repay all amounts received from NIH under the award if either of the following determinations are made upon assessment of a change to their disclosure:

  • the SBC makes a material misstatement that NIH determine poses a risk to national security; or
  • there is a change in ownership, change in entity structure, or other substantial change in circumstances of the SBC that NIH determine poses a risk to national security.

The repayment requirements and procedures provided in Section 8.5.4 Recovery of Funds of the NIH GPS apply and may also be subject to additional noncompliance and enforcement actions as described in Section 8.5.2 of the GPS. Recipients are required to follow the repayment procedures provided in the Guidance for Repayment of Grant Funds to the NIH.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons, application errors and warnings, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, and post-submission issues)

Finding Help Online: https://www.era.nih.gov/need-help  (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

General Grants Information (Questions regarding application instructions, application processes, and NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-637-3015

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and Workspace)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Email: support@grants.gov

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)

Christine Happel, Ph.D.
Program Officer, Office of Special Initiatives 
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS))
Telephone: 301-827-9444 
Email: christine.happel@nih.gov 

Meena Rajagopal, Ph.D.
Program Officer, NCATS SBIR/STTR Program
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Phone: 301-827-1921
Email:  meena.rajagopal@nih.gov 

Peer Review Contact(s)

Marilyn Moore-Hoon, Ph.D.  
Chief, Scientific Review Branch
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) 
Telephone: 301-827-9549 
Email: Marilyn.Moorehoon@nih.gov 

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Imoni Williams 
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) 
Telephone: 301-435-2939 
Email: imoni.washington@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 45 CFR Part 75 and 2 CFR Part 200.

The SBIR Program is mandated by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219), reauthorizing legislation (P.L. 99-443) P.L. 102-564, P.L. 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011), as reauthorized and extended under P.L. 114-328, Section 1834, P.L. 115-232, and P.L. 117-183. The basic design of the NIH SBIR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) SBIR Policy Directive.

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), as reauthorized and extended under P.L. 114-328, Section 1834, P.L. 115-232, and P.L. 117-183. The basic design of the NIH STTR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) STTR Policy Directive.

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