Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information

Participating Organization(s)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

All applications to this funding opportunity announcement should fall within the mission of the Institutes/Centers.  The following NIH Offices may co-fund applications assigned to those Institutes/Centers:

Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)

Funding Opportunity Title
HEAL Initiative: Optimization of Non-addictive Therapies [Small Molecules and Biologics] to Treat Pain - (U44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Activity Code

U44 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Cooperative Agreements - Fast-Track

Announcement Type
New
Related Notices
None
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
RFA-NS-19-020
Companion Funding Opportunity
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)
93.350; 93.213; 93.393; 93.273; 93.853; 93.865; 93.279; 93.121; 93.847; 93.313
Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to support preclinical optimization and development of safe, effective, and non-addictive small molecule and biologic therapeutics to treat pain. The goal of the program is to accelerate the optimization and development of promising small molecule and biologic hits/leads towards clinical trials. Applicants must have a promising hit/lead, robust biological rationale for the intended approach, and identified assays for optimization of the agent. The scope of this program includes optimization and early development activities, IND-enabling studies, and assembly of Investigational New Drug (IND) application. This is a milestone-driven phased cooperative agreement program involving participation of NIH program staff in the development of the project plan and monitoring of research progress.

Key Dates

Posted Date

December 10, 2018

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
December 09, 2018
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to receipt date.

Application Due Date(s)
January 9, 2019 and March 6, 2019, by 5:00PM local time of applicant organization.  All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)
January 9, 2019 and March 6, 2019, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of AIDS and AIDS-related applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

Scientific Merit Review
March 2019 and July 2019
Advisory Council Review
May 2019 and August 2019
Earliest Start Date
Expiration Date
March 07, 2019
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:

 

The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to support preclinical optimization and development of safe, effective, and non-addictive small molecule and biologic therapeutics to treat pain. The goal of the program is to accelerate the optimization and development of promising small molecule and biologic hits/leads towards clinical trials. Applicants must have a promising hit/lead, robust biological rationale for the intended approach, and identified assays for optimization of the agent. The scope of this program includes optimization and early development activities, IND-enabling studies, and assembly of Investigational New Drug (IND) application. This is a milestone-driven phased cooperative agreement program involving participation of NIH program staff in the development of the project plan and monitoring of research progress.

 

Background:

 

This study is part of the NIH's Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative to speed scientific solutions to the national opioid public health crisis.  The NIH HEAL Initiative will bolster research across the NIH to (1) improve treatment for opioid misuse and addiction and (2) enhance pain management.  More information about the HEAL Initiative is available at: https://www.nih.gov/research-training/medical-research-initiatives/heal-initiative.

 

More than 25 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, a highly debilitating medical condition that is complex and lacks effective treatments. In recent decades, there has been an overreliance on opioids for chronic pain despite their poor ability to improve function. This contributed to a significant and alarming epidemic of opioid overdose deaths and addictions. Innovative scientific solutions to develop alternative treatment options for pain are thus critically needed. As part of the mission of the HEAL Initiative, NINDS is working with other NIH Institutes and Centers to encourage the translation of basic research into new non-addictive pain treatments. This program announcement is intended to create a foundation to initiate the optimization and development of pain therapeutics and catalyze the development of partnerships between the academic and industrial sectors so that translational research in pain can flourish as a cooperative, iterative process leading to safe, effective, and non-addictive treatments for pain.

 

Scope:

 

This program announcement is specifically focused on the preclinical translational development necessary to advance small molecules and biologics to the point of clinical testing of therapeutic candidates for pain. The program supports preclinical optimization and development of small molecules and biologics leading to assembly of IND applications for the FDA. The scope of this program excludes clinical research, basic research, and studies of disease mechanism or mechanistic/mechanism of action studies of the intended therapeutic. Further, development of animal models, diagnostics, biomarkers, rehabilitation strategies, or therapeutic devices is out of scope.

 

General Entry Criteria:

 

All projects must enter the U44 Phase I of the program. For entry, projects must have a promising small molecule or biologic starting point for optimization, a rigorous biological rationale for the intended approach, and scientifically sound assays to test the agent.

 

For the U44 Phase I, this FOA encourages projects proposing the following optimization activities:

  • Optimization using potency and efficacy screens
  • Preliminary efficacy testing in appropriate pain animal models
  • Characterization and testing for ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion)

 

It is expected that by the end of the U44 Phase I, awardees will have characterized and selected a lead candidate that is ready for in vivo efficacy testing, though additional optimization may be necessary.

 

For advancement to the U44 Phase II, the following development activities are in scope:

  • Any further optimization activities as listed above, if needed
  • Non-GLP toxicology studies (e.g. dose range finding toxicology)
  • Pharmacokinetics (PK)
  • Formulation and stability studies
  • Cell bank development and testing
  • Gene expression level
  • Biodistribution, tumorigenicity, and immunogenicity
  • Process development
  • Manufacturing of candidate therapeutics for IND
  • IND-enabling safety pharmacology, genotoxicity, hERG and toxicology studies

 

Additional Resources:

 

To support these projects, additional existing NIH resources may be made available to the applicant outside of this grant budget. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIH staff to discuss these options. These resources include, but are not limited to the following:

 

NINDS

 

NINDS has established contract support for pharmacokinetic studies, toxicology (GLP and non-GLP) and safety testing and can provide access to experts in therapeutics development through a consulting service. Additionally, as part of the HEAL Initiative, NINDS anticipates establishing support for a preclinical screening platform for pain and make available variety of in vivo animal models to test promising lead compounds. Applicants must contact NINDS staff (contacts provided below) in order to utilize these resources and determine how to best leverage these as part of the application.

 

NCATS

 

Applicants are also strongly encouraged to utilize the state-of-the-art capabilities at the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NIH/NCATS). Depending on the nature of the proposed collaboration, NCATS will make available its comprehensive capabilities in support of HEAL initiatives. The capabilities include, but are not limited to, screening and scalable production of relevant stem cells; biofabrication of 3D functional tissues for drug testing; using quantitative high-throughput screening to identify promising compounds to be optimized by medicinal chemists; and implementing IND-enabling studies. A more detailed description of the capabilities can be found at: https://ncats.nih.gov/heal/intramural-capabilities*

 

Milestones:

 

Because therapeutics optimization and development are inherently high risk, it is expected that there will be significant attrition as projects progress. Go/No-Go milestones will be established by a team consisting of the PD/PI and NIH program staff at the start of each project and updated as needed. These will be tailored to the therapeutic agent to make sure that investigators have the appropriate resources to advance the proposed projects and will differ between therapeutic candidates. Program staff may consult as necessary with independent consultants with relevant expertise.

 

NIH program staff and leadership will conduct an annual administrative review. At the end of the U44 Phase I, NIH program staff and leadership will determine if the project will advance to the U44 Phase II. If needed, additional meetings to administratively review progress may take place. If justified, future year milestones may be revised based on data and information obtained during the previous project period. The reviews will be based on:

 

  • Successful achievement of milestones
  • The overall feasibility of project advancement, considering data that may not have been captured in milestones
  • Competitive landscape for the disease indication and drug target
  • Program priorities
  • Availability of funds

Intellectual Property:
 

Since the ultimate goal of this program is to bring new pain therapeutics to the market, the creation and protection of appropriate intellectual property are significant considerations in designing research strategies and prioritizing projects for funding. Each applicant is expected to address intellectual property issues related to the proposed therapeutics, with input from the institution's technology transfer officials, if applicable. Peer reviewers will be instructed to comment on the intellectual property landscape for each application. The project milestone plan may include commercialization milestones to protect and leverage intellectual property. Recipients of awards are encouraged to identify potential licensing and commercialization partners early in the therapy development process. The PD(s)/PI(s) is encouraged to work closely with technology transfer officials at his or her institution, if applicable, to ensure that royalty agreements, patent filings, and all other necessary intellectual property arrangements are completed in a timely manner. (See Section IV.2. Other Project Information for details.) 

 

Implementation:

 

The program provides funding through the U44 Fast Track cooperative agreement mechanism. As a cooperative agreement, implementation will involve participation of NIH program staff in the planning and execution of the therapy-directed projects. This program is envisioned as a 5-year program in two stages U44 Phase I and Phase II. The U44 Phase I portion of the award is designed to support optimization research for two years. Our goal is to fund 6-8 projects with a limited budget for the first 2 years. Based on the progress to milestones, only a limited number of projects will proceed to the U44 Phase II phase (3 years) for the remainder of the award period which will include final optimization and development leading to IND-enabling studies, either through the grant budget or through additional contract resources outlined above.

 

IC-Specific Areas of Interest

 

NCCIH

 

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) will support research on optimization of non-addictive therapies for acute or chronic pain conditions, including chronic low back pain, that are treated with complementary and integrative health approaches.  Examples of complementary and integrative health approaches relevant to this FOA include, but are not restricted to, herbal products, dietary supplements, special diets, probiotics, or a combination of any of these therapies with each other or with conventional pharmacological therapies.

 

NICHD

 

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is interested in supporting research aimed at developing novel, non-addictive pharmacotherapies for (1) more effective and safer treatment of pain in pediatric or obstetric populations; (2) the treatment of chronic gynecologic pain syndromes, including vulvodynia/vestibulodynia, chronic pelvic pain, and dysmenorrhea, and post-operative gynecologic pain; (3) the management of persistent pain associated with multiple chronic conditions in individuals with physical impairments. Investigators are strongly encouraged to discuss their research plans with NICHD Scientific/Research contact prior to submitting their application.

 

NIDCR

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is interested in preclinical optimization and development of safe, effective, and non-addictive small molecule and biologic therapeutics to treat painful disorders of the orofacial region including temporomandibular joint disorders, trigeminal neuropathies, burning mouth syndrome, oral cancer pain, dental pain, and other conditions. Investigators are encouraged to contact NIDCR program staff to discuss potential research projects prior to application submission to determine alignment of the planned studies with priorities of the Institute mission and strategic plan.

 

NIDDK

The NIDDK encourages applications that identify non-addictive therapies in children, adolescents, and adults with diabetic neuropathy; pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and other gastrointestinal diseases; and kidney and lower urinary tract symptoms.

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

New (Fast-Track)

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

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

NIH intends to fund an estimated 6-8 awards, corresponding to a total cost of $6 million for fiscal year 2019. Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations.

Award Budget

Application budgets must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The U44 Phase I budget, a maximum of 2 years, should not exceed $750K total cost per year. The U44 phase IIbudget should not exceed $2.25M total cost per year. Budgets for all years including both phases must be provided.

Award Project Period
Durations up to 2 years for Phase I and up to 3 years for Phase II may be requested.
NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made from this FOA.

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible Organizations
Only United States small business concerns (SBCs) are eligible to submit applications for this opportunity. A small business concern is one that, at the time of award of Phase I and Phase II, meets all of the following criteria:

  1. Is organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States, which operates primarily within the United States or which makes a significant contribution to the United States economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor;
  1. 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;
  1.  
    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), 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; 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.
  2. Has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees.

If the concern is more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these falls under 3 (ii) or 3 (iii) above, see Section IV. Application and Submission Information for additional instructions regarding required application certification.

If an Employee Stock Ownership Plan owns all or part of the concern, each stock trustee and plan member is considered an owner.

If a trust owns all or part of the concern, each trustee and trust beneficiary is considered an owner.

Definitions:

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

SBCs must also meet the other regulatory requirements found in 13 C.F.R. Part 121. Business concerns, other than investment companies licensed, or state development companies qualifying under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, 15 U.S.C. 661, et seq., are affiliates of one another when either directly or indirectly, (a) one concern controls or has the power to control the other; or (b) a third-party/parties controls or has the power to control both. Business concerns include, but are not limited to, any individual (sole proprietorship) partnership, corporation, joint venture, association, or cooperative. The SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for detailed eligibility information.

Small business concerns that are more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these are NOT eligible to apply to the NIH STTR program.

Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate Benchmark

In accordance with guidance from the SBA, the HHS SBIR/STTR Program is implementing the Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate benchmark required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011.   This Transition Rate requirement applies to SBIR and STTR Phase I applicants that have received more than 20 Phase I awards over the past 5 fiscal years, excluding the most recently-completed fiscal year.  For these companies, the benchmark establishes a minimum number of Phase II awards the company must have received for a given number of Phase I awards received during the 5-year time period in order to be eligible to apply for a new Phase I award.  This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 20 or fewer Phase I awards over the 5 year period. 

Companies that do not meet or exceed the benchmark rate will not be eligible to apply for a Phase I Fast-Track, or Direct Phase II (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 Phase III Commercialization Benchmark

In accordance with guidance from the SBA, HHS, including NIH, SBIR/STTR Programs are implementing the Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Rate benchmark for Phase I applicants, as required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. The Commercialization Rate Benchmark was published in a Federal Register notice on August 8, 2013 (78 FR 48537).

This requirement applies to companies that have received more than 15 Phase II awards from all agencies over the past 10 years, excluding the two most recently-completed Fiscal Years. Companies that meet this criterion must show an average of at least $100,000 in revenues and/or investments per Phase II award or at least 0.15 (15%) patents per Phase II award resulting from these awards. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 15 or fewer Phase II awards over the 10 year period, excluding the two most recently-completed Fiscal Years.

Information on the Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Benchmark is available at SBIR.gov. 

Applicants to this FOA that may have received more than 15 Phase II awards across all federal SBIR/STTR agencies over the past ten (10) years should, prior to application preparation, verify that their company’s Commercialization Benchmark on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov meets or exceeds the benchmark rate listed above.

Applicants that fail this benchmark will be notified by SBA annually and will not be eligible to apply for New Phase I, Fast-track or Direct Phase II (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) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • SBA Company Registry –See Section IV. Application and Submission Information, “SF424(R&R) Other Project Information Component” for instructions on how to register and how to attach proof of registration to your application package.  Applicants must have a DUNS number to complete this registration.  SBA Company registration is NOT required before SAM, Grants.gov or eRA Commons registration.
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account.  PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)
Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.
Under the SBIR program, for both Phase I and Phase II, the primary employment of the PD/PI must be with the small business concern at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed project. For projects with multiple PDs/PIs, at least one must meet the primary employment requirement. Occasionally, deviations from this requirement may occur.

The SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for specific details on eligibility requirements. For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, see Multiple Principal Investigators section of the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

3. Additional Information on Eligibility

 

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, normally, a minimum of two-thirds or 67% of the research or analytical effort must be carried out by the small business concern. The total amount of all consultant and contractual arrangements to third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort generally may not exceed 33% of the total amount requested (direct, F&A/indirect, and fee).

In Phase II, normally, a minimum of one-half or 50% of the research or analytical effort must be carried out by the small business concern. The total amount of consultant and contractual arrangements to third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort generally may not exceed 50% of the total Phase II amount requested (direct, F&A/indirect, and fee).

A small business concern may subcontract a portion of its SBIR or STTR award to a Federal laboratory within the limits above.  A Federal laboratory, as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 3703, means any laboratory, any federally funded research and development center, or any center established under 15 U.S.C. §§ 3705 & 3707 that is owned, leased, or otherwise used by a Federal agency and funded by the Federal Government, whether operated by the Government or by a contractor.

The basis for determining the percentage of work to be performed by each of the cooperative parties in Phase I or Phase II will be the total of the requested costs attributable to each party, unless otherwise described and justified in “Consortium/Contractual Arrangements” of the PHS 398 Research Plan component of SF424 (R&R) application forms.

Additional details are contained in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Requesting an Application Package

Buttons to access the online ASSIST system or to download application forms are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the SBIR/STTR (B) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Letter of Intent

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

 

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

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

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Charles Cywin, Ph.D.
Telephone: 301-496-1779
Email: charles.cywin@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) 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.

Other Attachments:

1. SBIR Application Certification for small business concerns majority-owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms

Applicant small business concerns that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms (e.g. majority VCOC-owned) are required to submit a Certification at time of their application submission per the SBIR Policy Directive.  Follow the instructions below. 

Applicants small business concerns who are more than 50% directly owned and controlled by one or more individuals (who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), other business concerns (each of which is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), or any combination of these (i.e. NOT majority VCOC-owned) should NOT fill out this certification and should NOT attach it their application package.

  1. Download the “VCOC Certification.pdf” at the NIH SBIR Forms webpage. 
  1. Answer the 3 questions and check the certification boxes.
  1. The authorized business official must sign the certification.
  1. Save the certification using the original file name.  The file must be named “SBIR Application VCOC Certification.pdf”.  DO NOT CHANGE OR ALTER THE FILE NAME.  Changing the file name may cause delays in the processing of your application.
  1. When you are completing the application package, attach this certification as a separate file by clicking "Add Attachments" located to the right of Other Attachments field on the “Research and Related Other Project Information” form.

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.

Specific Aims: The Specific Aims section should include Aims delineated for both the U44 Phase I and Phase II.

 

Research Strategy: 

 

The Research Strategy section should include the following subsections:

  • Clinical Impact (Significance)
  • Biological Rationale (Significance)
  • Testing strategy (Approach)
  • Team management (Approach)
  • Innovation

  Clinical Impact (Significance):

 

Each application generally should focus on one or more specific pain condition(s). The target patient population and intended use guide the design of the drug and of the preclinical studies, such as toxicology and formulation.

 

For the specific pain condition(s) proposed, briefly describe the current state of knowledge of the etiology, clinical characteristics, and current and projected prevalence of the proposed condition 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.
  • Provide a Target Product Profile (TPP), a table based on an FDA template 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 at http://neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/resources/target-product-profile.htm). Explain why the minimally acceptable and ideal parameters offer advantages over currently available treatments and how they relate to other therapeutics under development.
  • Briefly comment on the feasibility of conducting clinical trials toward the goals in the TPP (e.g., availability of patients for clinical trials).
  • Describe the clinical expertise used to determine the goals of the drug development program and the clinical trial.

Biological Rationale (Significance):

  • Describe the intended biological target/pathway. Indicate whether evidence from multiple groups supports this as a compelling target for the condition. 
  • Provide the evidence that links this target to the particular pain condition proposed.
  • Provide the evidence that altering target activity as proposed will give desirable outcomes for the proposed pain condition.
  • Describe what is known about your agent(s) structure/identity, selectivity, bioactivity, potency, stability, production, etc.
  • Define what an optimized candidate would look like. Include quantitative characteristics for structure/identity, in vitro activities and in vivo pharmacology, specificity, selectivity, stability, etc. Explain how the desired quantitative characteristics are consistent with the desired TPP. Introduce what parameters of the agent(s) will be modified during the funding period.

Testing Strategy (Approach):

 

In this section applicants should elaborate on their research plans to achieve the ultimate goal of assembling an IND application by the end of the project.

 

Include details on efforts to ensure the experimental design is rigorous. This includes, but is not limited to justification for model systems, endpoints, minimal requirements for agent purity, route and timing of delivery, adequacy of controls and sample sizes, description of statistical analyses, inclusions of measures to reduce bias, and plans for replication, if applicable.

 

Propose milestones to be used for measuring success in achieving each of the research plan key objectives. One or more milestone(s) should be used for each key objective.

  • For each milestone provide details on methods, assumptions, experimental designs, and data analysis plans.
  • Specify the quantitative criteria for measuring success and related rationale. Quantitative criteria should be robust and be consistent with the state-of-the-art in the field. The quantitative criteria for success in the milestones will also be used for making go/no-go decisions and this should be specified.    
  • Specify the timeline for each milestone. There should be at least one milestone each year. 
  • NIH recognizes time sensitivity in developing therapeutics for patients who urgently need new or better treatment. If the research contains parallel activities from an independently funded, ongoing study prior or during the funding period, it should be noted with appropriate milestones.
  • Specify and provide details on what other NIH resources may be utilized in the project.

Team management:

 

Team building is an essential step in the development of the overall plan for therapeutics development. Because translational research is intrinsically interdisciplinary, the plan will often involve cooperation among basic researchers, experts in preclinical development, and clinicians, and may include the participation of private-sector companies and voluntary organizations.

  • Any collaborators, consultants, or subcontractors should be identified, no matter when during the conduct of the research activity the proposed interaction occurs.
  • Describe how the team, including consultants, has already been engaged and a plan as to how they will continue working together over the course of the project (e.g., recurring team meetings, review and report of data across disciplines, decision-making, participate in meetings with NIH, communication, etc.). 
  • Explain how other NIH resources are or are not applicable to the project as appropriate.
  • Letters of support should be included and should not be generic, but instead indicate what has been contributed so far and what they expect to provide during the project to allow an evaluation of team engagement (see below).
  • Indicate the willingness of the PD/PI(s) and key personnel to operate under the cooperative agreement terms and conditions outlined in section VI.2. Of the FOA. 

Innovation: 

 

Explain how the project offers a novel approach to treating the proposed disease indication.

  • 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 proposed approach, target, pathway, assays or models.

Letters of Support:

 

Applicants should include letters of support from consultants, contractors, and collaborators.

If applying from an academic institution, include a letter of support from the technology transfer official who will be managing intellectual property associated with this project.

  • If research will be performed at more than one institution, include a letter of support from each institution clarifying how intellectual property will be shared or otherwise managed across the institutions.
  • If collaborating with a private entity, include a letter of support that addresses any agreement to provide agent(s), any limits on the studies that can be performed with said agent(s), any limitations on sharing of data (including negative results), and whether a licensing agreement(s) will be needed and in place once the project is funded. This letter should come from a high official within the private entity who has authority to speak on these issues.
  • If an application plans to utilize the infrastructure or resources of existing projects, whether funded by the NIH, other governmental or non-governmental entities, letters of support detailing the terms of collaboration, data sharing, and intellectual property must be included.
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.

Investigators should include a brief one-paragraph description of how the final research data will be shared or why data-sharing is not possible. If patent protection is being sought, investigators should explain how data will be shared after patent protection is secured.

Appendix:

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

The following subsections must be included within the page limit of the Commercialization Plan, in addition to the requirements listed in the SF424 Application Guide:

1) Statement of Need

Applicants must provide a concise "Statement of Need". This statement is expected to provide answers to the questions listed below:

  • What is the perceived "Valley of Death" for the product/technology under development?
  • To what extent would a possible award under this FOA advance the product or technology far enough to attract sufficient, independent third-party financing and/or strategic partnerships to carry out full commercialization?

2) SBIR/STTR Commercialization History

Applicants should provide an SBIR/STTR Commercialization History that addresses the questions listed below. The following questions should be addressed for all SBIR/STTR awards received from any Federal agency:

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

3) Intellectual Property (IP) Protection

Applications must include an Intellectual property (IP) strategy. It may be no more than 2 pages. Applicants are encouraged to prepare this section of the application in consultation with their institution's technology transfer officials. Applicants should describe the IP landscape surrounding their therapy. Applicants should describe any known constraints that could impede therapeutic optimization and development (e.g., certain restrictions under transfer or sharing agreements, applicants' previous or present IP filings and publications, similar therapies that are under patent protection and/or on the market, etc.) and how these issues could be addressed with achieving the goals of this program. If the applicant proposes using a hit/lead whose IP is not owned by the applicant's institution, the applicant should address any limitations imposed on the studies or the project which would impede achieving the goals of the funding program. If patents pertinent to the therapy being developed under this application have been filed, the applicant should indicate the details of filing dates, what type of patents are filed, and application status, and associated USPTO links, if applicable. Applicants should discuss future IP filing plans. For a multiple-PD/PI, multiple-institution application, applicants should describe the infrastructure of each institution for bringing the technologies to practical application and for coordinating these efforts (e.g., licensing, managing IP) among the institutions. Applicants should clarify how IP will be shared or otherwise managed if multiple PD/PIs and institutions are involved.”

PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information
When involving NIH-defined human subjects research, clinical research, and/or clinical trials follow all instructions for the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional instructions:

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

Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

Delayed Onset Study

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

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

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

See Part 1. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirement for obtaining a unique entity identifier and for completing and maintaining active registrations in System for Award Management (SAM), 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 Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by components of participating organizations, 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. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

For this particular announcement, note the following:

The NIH is encouraging applications for translational research that may involve standard methodologies applied toward novel therapeutic approaches. Therefore, a project that does not necessarily employ novel methodologies may still be essential to advance the field.

 

Projects should not be penalized if the mechanism of action of the compound is unknown. While this may add to the risk, the increased risk may be counterbalanced by increased novelty.

 

Evaluation of the approach should emphasize the biological rationale, the potential for identifying a candidate with suitable properties, potential patient benefit, competitive landscape (novelty), and strengths/weaknesses of studies to be conducted by the PD/PI. Any additional resources (e.g., contracts or consultants) provided by NIH should be presumed to be industry standard.

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.

 

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is there a strong scientific premise for the project? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved?  How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? Does the proposed project have commercial potential to lead to a marketable product, process or service? (In the case of Phase II, Fast-Track, and Phase II Competing Renewals, does the Commercialization Plan demonstrate a high probability of commercialization?)

Specific to this FOA:

 

If the project is successful in meeting its proposed Target Product Profile, how will it affect the development of safe, effective, and non-addictive small molecule and biologic therapies to treat pain?

 

Scientific Premise: what is the robustness of the preliminary data provided in support of the target/intervention (can be molecular, cellular or system) for the intended pain condition? Were the unpublished and published data used in support of the application from rigorously designed experiments and are they relevant? For key experiments, did the application explain assumptions for power analysis, describe statistical analysis methods and criteria for data inclusion or exclusion, and detail the procedures of how blinding and randomization were conducted? Have key data been replicated?

 

Are the starting agent(s) robust and plans for optimization needed to achieve the desired candidate profile specified? Will the parameters proposed for optimization result in a candidate consistent with the requirements stated in the TPP? Is there evidence of clinical feasibility? 

 

Are essential assays (in vitro and in vivo) that will be used to optimize the agent(s) well characterized (e.g., the dynamic range, variability) and available in the applicant's or collaborator's laboratory and suitable for the proposed use?

 

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?

Has an appropriate multidisciplinary team been engaged? Is any expertise lacking? Based on the team management plan and letters of support descriptions of how the members have already contributed to the design and proposed implementation of the project and how they will continue working together over the course of the project, does the team seem capable and sufficiently engaged to successfully complete the activities needed to obtain an optimized therapeutic candidate? Are the appropriate expertise areas represented in the team? 

 

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 FOA:

 

Would the proposed drug be expected to give significantly better clinical outcomes than have been observed in previous efforts focused on the same target? Will it offer a safer, effective, and non-addictive small molecule or biologic therapy to treat pain?

 

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed?  Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? For a Phase I application, are there clear, appropriate, measurable goals (milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?

Have the investigators included plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project? 

 

Specific to this FOA:

  • Are plans with all necessary steps to optimize the small molecule or biologic in order to obtain a candidate clearly spelled out?
  • Are proposed milestones appropriate?
  • Is the overall plan for therapy development through IND de novo submission practical, achievable, and of high quality? Can it be accomplished within the funding period?
  • Are there adequate plans for optimization of the therapeutics, as appropriate?
  • Are the proposed experiments designed using rigorous methodological approaches to minimize potential bias? 
  • For key critical experiments (such an in vivo demonstration of efficacy and target engagement with a dose response), does the application have the following:
  • Is the experimental design appropriately rigorous, including the following parameters?
  • A primary, secondary, exploratory endpoint (when applicable), and an explanation as to why they were chosen
  • Appropriate controls
  • An explanation of assumptions and reference to supporting data for power analyses
  • A description of planned data analyses and data handling rules such as criteria for data inclusion or exclusion
  • A detailed description of the procedures of how blinding and randomization will be implemented
  • Minimal requirement of the purity of the reagents
  • Plan for replication if not already done

If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

 

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.

Market, Customer, and Competition

Company

Intellectual Property (IP)

Study Timeline

  • How compelling is the value proposition, and to what extent does the application demonstrate a substantial market-pull for the technology under development?
  • How well has the applicant described the market niche(s) for the product/ technology, and how urgent is the unmet need(s) being addressed?
  • To what extent has the applicant identified realistic, market-based milestones that can be achieved over the next five years?
  • How well has the applicant demonstrated an understanding of the competitive environment in which they plan to sell their product?
  • To what extent has the applicant identified their customers and demonstrated a clear understanding of their needs?
  • How well has the company addressed potential hurdles that may delay or prevent acceptance of their product?
  • How reasonable are the applicant's plans for generating a revenue stream, and how realistic are the revenue projections?
  • To what extent do the prior experience and qualifications of the project team members lend confidence that the team will be successful in commercializing the proposed product/technology? For example, how successful have the PD(s)/PI(s) been in commercializing other SBIR/STTR supported technologies and discoveries in the past?
  • If the SBC has received previous SBIR/STTR funding from ANY Federal agency, then how successful is the company's track record in commercializing prior SBIR/STTR projects?
  • How well can the applicant SBC sustain itself and grow as a business?
  • To what extent will the applicant's business alliances and/or corporate partnerships help in facilitating commercialization? For example, will third-party investors play an active role in facilitating the commercialization of the product/technology, and if so to what extent?
  • 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?
  • For Development-stage projects, has the applicant demonstrated that the ability of his or her institution to develop and commercialize the proposed development candidate is unlikely to be blocked or impeded by intellectual property constraints? 
  • If multiple institutions are proposed, is it clear how intellectual property will be shared or otherwise managed to avoid encumbering the IP, consistent with achieving the goals of the program? Are these plans acceptable?

 

Not Applicable

 

For Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Applications, reviewers will consider the following:

1. Does the Phase I application specify clear, appropriate, measurable goals (milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II?

2. To what extent was the applicant able to obtain letters of interest, additional funding commitments, and/or resources from the private sector or non-SBIR/STTR funding sources that would enhance the likelihood for commercialization?

 

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

 

When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

 

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following criteria: (1) description of proposed procedures involving animals, including species, strains, ages, sex, and total number to be used; (2) justifications for the use of animals versus alternative models and for the appropriateness of the species proposed; (3) interventions to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury; and (4) justification for euthanasia method if NOT consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. Reviewers will assess the use of chimpanzees as they would any other application proposing the use of vertebrate animals. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

 

Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

 

Not Applicable.

 

Not Applicable.

 

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.

Specific to this FOA:

 

Does the project appropriately leverage any existing NIH resources?

 

Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

 

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: (1) Data Sharing Plan; (2) Sharing Model Organisms; and (3)  Genomic Data Sharing Plan.

 

For projects involving key biological and/or chemical resources, reviewers will comment on the brief plans proposed for identifying and ensuring the validity of those resources.

 

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

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by NINDS, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

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

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

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 submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke 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.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons. Refer to Part 1 for dates for peer review, advisory council review, and earliest start date.

Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.  This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General  and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights law. This means that recipients of HHS funds must ensure equal access to their programs without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, sex and religion. This includes ensuring your programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency.  HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research.

For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/laws/revisedlep.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html; and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/about/rgn-hqaddresses.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=53.

In accordance with the statutory provisions contained in Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), NIH awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements.  FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award.  An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS.  The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.”  This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.

Report fraud, waste and abuse
The Office of Inspector General Hotline accepts tips from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in Department of Health & Human Services programs.  The reporting individual should indicate that the fraud, waste and/or abuse concerns an SBIR/STTR grant or contract, if relevant. Report Fraud.
Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award
Not Applicable

3. Reporting

NIH requires that SBIR/STTR grantees submit the following reports within 120 days of the end of the grant budget period unless the grantee is under an extension. When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Failure to submit timely final reports may affect future funding to the organization or awards with the same PD/PI.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.

In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR 75.113 and Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75, recipients that have currently active Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies with a cumulative total value greater than $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of a Federal award, must report and maintain the currency of information reported in the System for Award Management (SAM) about civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings in connection with the award or performance of a Federal award that reached final disposition within the most recent five-year period.  The recipient must also make semiannual disclosures regarding such proceedings. Proceedings information will be made publicly available in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS).  This is a statutory requirement under section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313).  As required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April 15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal procurement contracts, will be publicly available.  Full reporting requirements and procedures are found in Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75 – Award Term and Conditions for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

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

Application Submission Contacts
eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons, application errors and warnings, documenting system problems that threaten on-time submission, 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 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)

Michael Oshinsky
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-9964
Email: michael.oshinsky@nih.gov

Charles Cywin
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-1779
Email: charles.cywin@nih.gov

Chris Boshoff, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-1779
Email: chris.boshoff@nih.gov

Christine Colvis
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
E-mail: ccolvis@mail.nih.gov

Yisong Wang, Ph.D.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Telephone: 301-480-9483
Email: yisong.wang@nih.gov

 

Diane St. Germain
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-7082
Email: dstgermain@mail.nih.gov

 


Soundar Regunathan, PhD

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Telephone: 301.443.1192

E-mail: regunathans@mail.nih.gov

Zhaoxia Ren, MD, PhD
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Telephone: 301-402-9340
Email: zren@mail.nih.gov

Kristopher Bough, Ph.D
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-443-9800
Email: boughk@nida.nih.gov

Yolanda F. Vallejo, PhD
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Telephone: 301-827-4655
Email: yolanda.vallejo@nih.gov

Teresa L.Z. Jones, MD
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301.435.2996
E-mail: teresa.jones@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Chief, Scientific Review Branch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: (301) 496-9223
Email: nindsreview.nih.gov@mail.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

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

 

Kristin Wegner

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

Telephone: 301-435-0848

Email: Kristin.wegner@nih.gov



Shelley Carow
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

Telephone: 301-594-3788

Email: carows@mail.nih.gov

 

Amy Bartosch

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Telephone: 240-276-6912

Email: amy.bartosch@nih.gov



Judy Fox

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Telephone: 301-443-4704

Email: jfox@mail.nih.gov



Bryan Clark

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Telephone: 301-435-6975

Email: clarkb1@mail.nih.gov

 

Diana Rutberg, MBA
National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Telephone: 301-594-4798
Email: rutbergd@mail.nih.gov

 

Christina Coriz

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Telephone: 301-594-8848

Email: corizc@niddk.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 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), and as reauthorized and extended under P.L. 114-328, Section 1834. The basic design of the NIH SBIR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) SBIR Policy Directive.


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