Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information

Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Funding Opportunity Title
Advancing Validated Drug Targets for Substance Use Disorders (R41/R42 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Activity Code

R41/R42 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grant - Phase I, Phase II, and Fast-Track

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
  • October 28, 2021 - Reminder: FORMS-G Grant Application Forms & Instructions Must be Used for Due Dates On or After January 25, 2022 - New Grant Application Instructions Now Available. See Notice NOT-OD-22-018.
  • September 13, 2021 - Updates to the Non-Discrimination Legal Requirements for NIH Recipients. See Notice NOT-OD-21-181.
  • August 5, 2021 - New NIH "FORMS-G" Grant Application Forms and Instructions Coming for Due Dates on or after January 25, 2022. See Notice NOT-OD-21-169
  • August 5, 2021 - Update: Notification of Upcoming Change in Federal-wide Unique Entity Identifier Requirements. See Notice NOT-OD-21-170
  • April 20, 2021 - Expanding Requirement for eRA Commons IDs to All Senior/Key Personnel. See Notice NOT-OD-21-109
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
RFA-DA-22-018
Companion Funding Opportunity

RFA-DA-22-023 - Advancing Validated Drug Targets for Substance Use Disorders (R43/R44 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Assistance Listing Number

93.279

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) seeks grant applications from small business concerns (SBCs) to continue research projects with robustly validated targets for Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). This FOA will provide funding for projects entering at either assay development (AD), lead identification (LI), lead optimization (LO), or preclinical development (PCD) stages to allow for the ultimate goal of successfully completing Investigational New Drug-enabling activities.

Key Dates

Posted Date
July 29, 2021
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
January 18, 2022
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Date(s)

February 18, 2022

No late applications will be accepted for this Funding Opportunity Announcement.

 

All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on the listed date(s).

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

July 2022

Advisory Council Review

August 2022

Earliest Start Date

December 2022

Expiration Date
February 19, 2022
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

Background

Substance use disorders (SUDs) affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. These illnesses are common, recurrent, and often serious, but they are treatable, and many people recover. SUDs occur when the recurrent use of drugs cause clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes addiction as the most severe form of a SUD (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/science-drug-use-addiction-basics). SUDs are now recognized as chronic brain diseases, with the potential for both recovery and relapse. The economic toll of SUDs is staggering and is estimated to be more than $740 billion annually. The life expectancy in the United States has declined over the past few years, due in large part to an annual increase in lives cut short by opioid overdose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER), opioid-involved overdose deaths rose from 21,088 in 2010 to 47,600 in 2017 and remained steady in 2018 with 46,802 deaths. This was followed by a significant increase in 2019 to 49,860 overdose deaths. Opioid overdoses in the US likely reached a record high in 2020 due to COVID-19 causing increased substance use, exacerbating stress and social isolation, and interfering with opioid treatment.

Like other chronic brain diseases, SUDs are treatable and can be successfully managed. The treatment is cost-effective: for every $1 spent on treatments, up to $12 is saved in legal and healthcare costs. Moreover, recent cost-effectiveness studies demonstrated that the use of medications, combined with contingency management, overdose education, and naloxone distribution to treat opioid use disorder (OUD), leads to significant health benefits and cost savings compared with no treatment. Research has also shown that for most patients, the combination of medication and behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success. There is a continuing need for broadly effective and disseminated medications for SUDs, especially for cocaine and other stimulant use disorder (STUD) and cannabis use disorder (CUD).

Nicotine-based formulations, bupropion, and varenicline are approved for tobacco use disorder (TUD). Methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone are approved for the medical management of severe OUDs. The short-acting antagonist naloxone has been approved for decades, as a parenteral injection, for the acute reversal of μ-agonist overdose. In 2018, the FDA approved lofexidine; the first medication made expressly to treat signs of opioid withdrawal. There are no medications approved for the management of CUDs. There are also no medications approved for the management of cocaine or other STUDs. Current therapies for CUD and STUD focus on psychosocial approaches, including cognitive-behavioral therapies. Several studies for STUD have explored the use of sustained release formulations of methylphenidate or amphetamine for this indication, using an 'agonist-based' approach, and the use of the opioid antagonist naltrexone. In addition, specific types of polydrug exposure (e.g., smoking/cocaine/alcohol or cocaine/heroin) are common in persons with SUDs. There are no medications approved for persons with polydrug exposure, although this group may be at special risk. Thus, there is a great need to incentivize the discovery and development of medications to treat all SUDs.

This Funding Opportunity Announcement invites projects aiming to continue drug discovery efforts beyond the target validation stage. The canonical view of the drug discovery and development (DDD) process is divided into milestone-driven phases of target identification (TI), target validation (TV), assay development (AD), lead identification (LI), lead optimization (LO), preclinical development (PCD), and clinical trials. TI is the earliest stage of drug discovery and begins with identifying the function of a therapeutic target and its biological role in the disorder. The next stage, TV, requires a demonstration that a molecular target is directly linked to a disorder and that the modulation of the target has the desired effect in disorder-related model(s). With a validated target, the next stage is usually AD, with the goal of performing either a high content (HC) or high throughput screening (HTS) of a validated screening assay that represents the disease biology and physiology. The HTS will identify active new chemical entities (NCEs) that are defined as molecules that show significant biological activity. With identified NCEs, the next stage is LI, where the objective is to prioritize and rank the NCEs to identify a chemical lead. The desired characteristics of the chemical lead are defined as a synthetically feasible, stable, and drug-like molecule active in in vitro assays and in vivo models with selectivity for the target. Following successful LI, the next stage is LO, where an optimized chemical lead becomes a development candidate (DC) to allow for the DC to enter Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) studies wherein Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) supplies will be produced for clinical trials. In the PCD stage, the selected DC molecule is further evaluated to predict safety and target dose range regimens; acceptable profile data will be required as part of an IND application to initiate clinical trials. This funding opportunity announcement seeks applications from investigators who have successfully validated novel targets for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) defined SUDs and are ready to move beyond the TV stage.

In determining the readiness of the applicants to move past the TV stage and the responsiveness to this solicitation, NIDA will use both: A) robustly demonstrated proof of target validation and B) a clearly defined Target Product Profile (TPP).

The proof of target validation (A) should include the following lines of evidence (e.g., in a form of a Target Dossier):

  • Target engagement (measurement of target binding or proximal downstream effects);
  • Genetic variation in the target has been shown to be significantly associated with the indication;
  • Genetic variation in a molecule functionally linked to the target has been shown to be significantly associated with the indication;
  • Expression of the target has been demonstrated in the appropriate human tissues;
  • Expression or dysregulation of the target correlates with disease incidence/genetic confirmation (e.g., Knock-out, siRNA, shRNA, SNP, known mutations, etc.);
  • Modulation of the activity of the target in vitro has phenotypic/biochemical effects consistent with the proposed function of the target;
  • Modulation of the activity of the target in vivo has phenotypic/biochemical effects consistent with the proposed function of the target and has been confirmed by either chemical antagonism or through genetic approaches (Knock-out, siRNA, shRNA, SNP, known mutations, etc.);
  • Availability of a low-throughput target validation assay that represents the biology.

The TPP (B) is a planning tool for the development of a drug candidate from discovery to clinical development programs. Routinely, the TPP is designed in a format to summarize a drug development program described in terms of concepts and characteristics which will be listed on the drug label. With the TPP, a drug developer specifies the labeling concepts that are the goals of the drug development program and documents the specific studies that are intended to support the labeling concepts, which could then be used to assist in a constructive dialogue with the FDA. TPPs are productively used in advanced translational programs at NIH, and the published examples of TPPs could be found here: https://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/sites/default/files/documents/tpp-worksheet_508c.pdf. Frequently, pharmaceutical companies establish TPPs with marketing attributes integrated into the framework of the drug's labeling concepts. In this case, the tool not only guides clinical development decisions but also directs the foundation for marketing success. The TPP also contributes to the ultimate goal of driving greater efficiencies and shorter timelines to the approval of an optimally marketable and profitable product.

Research Objectives

Research projects can enter either at the assay development (AD), lead identification (LI), lead optimization (LO), or preclinical development (PCD) stage. Projects proposing the development of therapeutics for a DSM-5 defined SUD will be considered responsive to this RFA. Projects that focus on alcohol use disorder or pain as the primary indication will not be responsive to this RFA. Projects failing to present the evidence supporting target validation and a TPP (https://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/sites/default/files/documents/tpp-worksheet_508c.pdf.) will also be considered nonresponsive to this RFA. The Principal Investigators (PIs) are strongly encouraged to assemble a team that includes expert personnel with relevant drug development/biomedical product development expertise.

Project applications submitted in response to this RFA may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  • For the AD stage, activities consisting of the development of a primary HTS assay, chemical library selection, secondary confirmation or counter screens, criteria defined for active NCE, and performance of HTS, along with the follow-up confirmation of multiple active compounds.
  • For the LI stage, activities consisting of structure-activity relationship (SAR), druggability (e.g., preliminary toxicity, Human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) potassium channels, Ames), synthetic feasibility, select mechanistic assays, in vitro assessment of drug resistance and efflux potential, evidence of in vivo efficacy of chemical class, and pharmacokinetics (PK) and toxicity of chemical class known based on preliminary toxicity or in silico studies.
  • For the LO stage, activities consisting of drug candidates demonstrating acceptable in vivo PK and toxicity, feasible formulation, in vivo preclinical efficacy (e.g., sufficiently powered) studies, dose range finding (DRF) pilot toxicology, process chemistry assessment of scale-up feasibility, and regulatory and marketing assessments.
  • For the PCD stage, activities consisting of drug candidates demonstrating acceptable PK (with a validated bioanalytical method), absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion (ADME) studies; demonstrating in vivo efficacy/activity, acceptable safety margin (e.g., toxicity in rodents or dogs, when appropriate), feasibility of GMP manufacture, acceptable drug interaction profile, and well-developed clinical endpoints.

Other research and development (R&D) activities needed to meet the requirements and expectations of the relevant regulatory agencies may also be proposed, as necessary and required for commercialization. The recently issued "FDA guidance on Opioid Use Disorder: Endpoints for Demonstrating Effectiveness of Drugs for Treatment Guidance for Industry" (https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/opioid-use-disorder-endpoints-demonstrating-effectiveness-drugs-treatment-guidance-industry) is a useful resource in guiding R&D activities in SUD.

For all applicants pursuing opioid use disorder (OUD) as an indication, NIDA encourages using the term "medications for opioid use disorder" (MOUD) instead of "medication-assisted treatment" (MAT) or "opioid substitution therapy" (OST)" when referring to medications prescribed for the treatment of OUD. The term MOUD appropriately frames these life-saving medications as effective, frontline treatments. In contrast, the term MAT implies that medication should have a supplemental or temporary role in treatment. The term OST reinforces the misconception that MOUD "substitutes" one drug for another instead of supporting recovery. The terminology shift to MOUD aligns with the way other psychiatric medications are understood (e.g., antidepressants, antipsychotics), as critical tools that are central to a patient's treatment plan.

In all submitted materials, NIDA encourages the use of preferred language that accurately describes addiction and substance without perpetuating stigma and bias. Specifically, research shows using person-first language—such as "person with a substance use disorder"—instead of "substance abuser" can reduce negative associations and punitive attitudes among clinicians and researchers. Further, the term "substance abuse" no longer has clinical relevance, as the DSM-5 dropped that term in favor of naming specific substance use disorders and other substance-related diagnoses. In addition to using person-first language, the term "substance abuse" and its derivatives should be avoided in favor of "use," "misuse," or "use disorder(s)" where appropriate. Similarly, "abuse potential" may be replaced with "addiction liability." These small but powerful substitutions may in turn combat feelings of stigma in patients and study participants, which research shows reduces willingness to seek and accept treatment, among other negative health outcomes. For more information on preferred language in addiction care, visit NIDAMED: https://www.drugabuse.gov/nidamed-medical-health-professionals/health-professions-education/words-matter-terms-to-use-avoid-when-talking-about-addiction

The SBIR/STTR program is a phased program.

The main objective in SBIR/STTR Phase I is to establish the technical merit and feasibility of the proposed research and development efforts, whereas in SBIR/STTR Phase II it is to continue the R&D efforts to advance the technology toward ultimate commercialization.

An overall objective of the SBIR and STTR programs is to increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federally supported research and development. At the conclusion of an SBIR/STTR Phase II, it is expected that the small business will fully commercialize their product or technology using non-SBIR/STTR funds (either federal or non-federal).

Three types of applications are accepted in response to this FOA:

Phase I. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to proceeding to Phase II.

Phase II. The objective of Phase II is to continue the R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I (or equivalent) and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II. NIDA seeks to determine that both technical feasibility and commercial feasibility are established in Phase I before making the decision about Phase II support.

Fast Track. An NIH SBIR Fast-Track incorporates a submission and review process in which both Phase I and Phase II applications are submitted and reviewed together as one application to reduce or eliminate the funding gap between phases. Fast-Track (Phase I/ Phase II) applications should include clear rationale of feasibility of the proposed approach and/ or technology application in SUD area; demonstrate a high probability of commercialization; propose clear, appropriate, meaningful and measurable goals (milestones) to be achieved prior to initiating Phase II; and indicate potential Phase III support/interest (non SBIR/STTR) from future commercialization partners. The objective of Phase II (as a part of Fast Track applications) is to continue the R&D efforts initiated in Phase I to advance technologies to potential commercialization. Projects proposed for Phase II are based on the results achieved in Phase I (or equivalent) and aim to demonstrate scientific and technical merit and commercial potential. NIDA seeks to determine that both technical feasibility and commercial feasibility are established in Phase I before making the decision about proceeding to Phase II.

Special Considerations

National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse Recommended Guidelines for the Administration of Drugs to Human Subjects: The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (NACDA) recognizes the importance of research involving the administration of drugs with abuse potential, and dependence or addiction liability, to human subjects. Potential applicants are encouraged to obtain and review these recommendations of Council before submitting an application that will administer compounds to human subjects. The guidelines are available on NIDA's Web site at http://www.drugabuse.gov/funding/clinical-research/nacda-guidelines-administration-drugs-to-human-subjects.

Points to Consider Regarding Tobacco Industry Funding of NIDA Applicants: The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (NACDA) encourages NIDA and its grantees to consider the points it has set forth with regard to existing or prospective sponsored research agreements with tobacco companies or their related entities and the impact of acceptance of tobacco industry funding on NIDA's credibility and reputation within the scientific community. Please see http://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/advisory-boards-groups/national-advisory-council-drug-abuse-nacda/council-statements/points-to-consider-regarding- for details.

Data Harmonization for Substance Abuse and Addiction via the PhenX Toolkit: NIDA strongly encourages investigators involved in human-subjects studies to employ a common set of tools and resources that will promote the collection of comparable data across studies and to do so by incorporating the measures from the Core and Specialty collections, which are available in the Substance Abuse and Addiction Collection of the PhenX Toolkit (www.phenxtoolkit.org). Please see NOT-DA-12-008 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-DA-12-008.html) for further details.

Data Sharing: NIDA strongly encourages investigators to share data with other investigators. NIDA expects that applicants to NIDA funding opportunity announcements: 1) submit their data to one of the NIH data archives for sharing; 2) include specific required elements in the Resource Sharing Plan including a description of whether and how the consents that will be used to obtain that data will affect the research that can be done with that data; and 3) include costs attributed to data preparation and submission to a data archive in grant applications.

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 (Phase I)
New (Fast-Track)

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

Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NIDA intends to commit $4,000,000 in FY 2022 to fund 8-12 awards in response to this FOA and the companion RFA-DA-22-023

Award Budget

Budgets up to $320,000 total cost per project for Phase I and up to $2,500,000 total cost per project for Phase II may be requested.

Award Project Period

Award periods may not exceed 12 months for Phase I and 2 years for Phase II. Applicants are encouraged to propose a project duration period that is reasonable and appropriate for the 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.  
    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. 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.

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 Fast-Track, or Direct Phase II (if available).  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 (if available) 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 Commercialization Benchmark

In accordance with guidance from the SBA, HHS, including NIH, 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. 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 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 (if applicable) 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)  – 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 number to register in eRA Commons. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration, but 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 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

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 (F) 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.

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) 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:

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.

Research Strategy:

Include (A) a robustly demonstrated proof of target validation and (B) a clearly defined Target Product Profile (TPP) to indicate the readiness of the proposed project to move past the TV stage.

The Research Strategy section should include the following subsections:

  • Significance: Target Validation
  • Innovation: Compound Profile
  • Approach: Target Product Profile
  • Approach: Development Strategy

Significance: Target Validation. Provide a clear description of how the proposed target has been validated for the specific SUD that the application is pursuing. Justify the proposed strategy to alter the target/pathway activity.

  • Provide the target validation evidence (e.g., Target Dossier) that links this target to the proposed SUD;
  • Provide the evidence that altering the target activity as proposed will give desirable outcomes for the proposed disease indication;
  • Briefly describe the current state of knowledge of the etiology, clinical characteristics, and current and projected prevalence of the proposed SUD indication.
  • Briefly discuss available treatments, including all treatment modalities and their limitations.
  • Discuss how the proposed project relates to therapeutics development efforts underway in academia and industry.

Innovation: Compound Profile. Explain how the project offers a novel approach to treating the proposed SUD indication.

  • For projects in LI and beyond, present the chemical structure of the compound(s) proposed for optimization or as the development candidate. Describe how the compound(s) were identified. Present structure-activity relationship (SAR) data.
  • For projects in LI and beyond, show that the compound proposed as the starting point for optimization alters the activity of the putative target as intended and/or produces desired outcomes in disease models, with sufficient detail to allow reviewers to evaluate the rigor of the experimental design. Explain the choice of models, assays, and endpoints for these studies.
  • Summarize the pharmacological and ADME activities of the compound(s) proposed for optimization or as the development candidate. Note any potential liabilities.
  • Describe the supporting in vivo biology study design in detail, including the power analysis and associated assumptions for the determination of sample size, statistical handling of the data (such as criteria for data inclusion or exclusion), procedures used for blinding, and randomization, and whether studies were replicated.
  • For Preclinical Development Projects, discuss the clinical relevance of the preclinical outcome measures and observed effect size. Show the data that demonstrate the relationship between compound exposure and activity and explain how these data support the clinical dosing regimen proposed in the TPP (https://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/sites/default/files/documents/tpp-worksheet_508c.pdf.)
  • If therapeutics that target the same molecule, pathway, or cellular process have been tested in clinical trials for the proposed disease indication, explain why the proposed approach would be expected to provide a benefit over those therapeutics.
  • If drugs with similar structures have been tested in clinical trials for the proposed disease indication, explain why the proposed drug would be expected to give significantly better clinical outcomes.
  • Comment on the novelty of the proposed approach, target, pathway, assays, or models.

Approach: Clearly defined TPP. Each application should focus on only one SUD indication, even if the compound or biologic proposed for the project shows activity in models for more than one SUD indication. This is because the target patient population and intended use guide the design of the drug and of the preclinical studies, such as toxicology and formulation.

  • Includes Target Product Profile (TPP), a table that summarizes the minimal/ideal profile of the final marketed product and shows the ultimate goals of the proposed drug development effort, such as disease indication, patient population, delivery mode, treatment duration, treatment regimen, and standards for clinical efficacy (see guidance and example of suggested format at (https://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/sites/default/files/documents/tpp-worksheet_508c.pdf). Explain why the minimally acceptable and ideal parameters offer advantages over currently available treatments and how they relate to other therapeutics under development.

Approach: Development Strategy. Include experimental designs and justification for all studies that will be conducted by the PD/PI and associated personnel.

  • Explain the rationale for the choice of assays, assay design, and advancement criteria, and clarify how these relate to the desired drug properties presented in the TPP.
  • If requesting funding to conduct assay development, include assay characteristics (e.g., Z-prime (Z'), coefficient of variation (CV)), in vitro assays (e.g., on-target and off-target activities), and a testing funnel that shows how these assays will be ordered and grouped into testing tiers. For the later stages of Lead Identification, Lead Optimization, Preclinical Development, please describe the stage relevant activities (e.g., SAR studies, efficacy, in vitro metabolism, and in vivo PK including ADME, etc.).
  • Indicate how target engagement and/or pharmacodynamic markers will be used to detect activity at the putative target in preclinical models and in patients, if available or proposed for development.
  • If requesting funding for LI, describe the SAR strategy that will be used.
  • In the PCD stage, the in vivo bioactivity study required to declare a development candidate, provide details on the study design, including power analysis and associated assumptions for sample size estimation, the process for blinding and randomization, and data handling rules, such as criteria for inclusion and exclusion of data. Describe plans for data analysis and interpretation, including what effect size would be considered minimally acceptable and clinically relevant
  • In the PCD stage, also include a Gantt chart that lays out each step (e.g., GMP synthesis, formulations development, and IND-enabling studies).
  • If requesting funding for process development, describe the strategy for adapting the synthesis for scale-up to levels sufficient to run a Phase I Clinical trial.

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

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 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 and responsiveness by NIDA, NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant and/or nonresponsive 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 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.

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?)

Specific to this announcement:

Is there clear evidence that links the target to the proposed SUD? How strong is the data that altering the target activity will give desirable outcomes for the proposed SUD? Does the project provide a novel therapeutic approach (e.g., more "drug-like "molecule, modality, mechanism of action) to treating the proposed SUD indication? If therapeutics target a previously investigated pathway, or the cellular process, does the proposed project provided a rationale of why the new approach would be expected to provide a significantly better clinical outcome?

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?

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?

Specific to this announcement:

How strong is the structure-activity relationship (SAR) data? Are the pharmacological and ADME activities of the compound(s) proposed for optimization or as the development candidate clearly outlined? For a project proposing in vivo biology studies, how robust is the study design, including the power analysis and associated assumptions for the determination of sample size, statistical handling of the data (such as criteria for data inclusion or exclusion), procedures used for blinding, and randomization, and whether studies were replicated? For Preclinical Development Projects, is there rational justification connecting the clinical relevance of the preclinical outcome measures and observed effect size? Does the data demonstrate the relationship between compound exposure and activity and clearly explain how these data support the clinical dosing regimen proposed in the TPP?

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?

Specific to this announcement:

Does the TPP summarize the minimal/ideal profile of the final market product and clearly outline the goals of the proposed drug development efforts, including disease indication, patient population, delivery mode, treatment duration, treatment regimen, and standard for clinical efficacy? Is there a clear justification of how the proposed minimally acceptable and ideal parameters offer advantages over currently available treatments and how they relate to other therapeutics under development? For the stage of development of the proposed project, are the proposed studies appropriate, feasible, and consistent with the proposed drug target or drug candidate, and likely to advance the project to the desired endpoint within the proposed timeframe?

For project entering the Assay Development stage:

Are the primary and secondary assay characteristics (e.g., Z-prime (Z'), coefficient of variation (CV)) appropriate? Is the chemical library appropriate, and is the assay throughput appropriate for the HCS/HTS? Is the selection strategy of hit compounds with significant biological activity appropriate?

For projects entering at the Lead Identification stage:

Are the proposed compounds suitable for SAR studies? Are the proposed in vitro assays (e.g., on-target and off-target activities) appropriate, and will the assays generate robust data? Is there a testing funnel that demonstrates how these assays will be ordered and grouped into testing tiers?

For projects entering at the Lead Optimization stage:

Are the proposed in vivo studies and the criteria appropriate for declaring a development candidate?

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?

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.

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 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

Not applicable

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.

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 NIDA, 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.

Appeals of initial peer review will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this FOA.

Applications will be assigned to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse.. 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 recipient'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.

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. 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 laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, religion, conscience, and sex. This includes ensuring programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency. 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 http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/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 “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 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, 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

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: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (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: 301-945-7573

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)

Christopher Conrad, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-496-2053
Email:christopher.conrad2@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Dharmendar Rathore, PhD
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-402-6965
Email:dharmendar.rathore@nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Ms. Amy Connolly
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: (301) 827-4457
Email: connolla@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), as reauthorized and extended under P.L. 114-328, Section 1834, and P.L. 115-232. The basic design of the NIH STTR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) STTR Policy Directive.


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