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NIH, CDC Soliciting Proposals for 2014 SBIR Program

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health is soliciting applications from small businesses seeking funding under the NIH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Small Business Innovation Research program for 2014.

The Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, and other federal agencies are required to allocate 2.7 percent of their extramural research and R&D budgets for SBIR funding. The NIH SBIR total for 2013 was $617 million.

The SBIR program funds Phase I projects with up to $150,000, Phase II efforts with up to $1 million, and Phase III funding to move projects that have already received SBIR funding toward commercialization.

NIH and CDC institutes and centers have identified a number of topic areas for which they will review applications, including a variety of therapeutic, biomarker-based, and diagnostic technologies.

The National Cancer Institute has several types of projects it would like to support, including efforts to advance the field of single-cell proteomics by improving single-cell isolation from tumors. NCI believes that isolating and conducting proteomic mapping of single cells "are essential to understanding cancer disease processes," and that single-cell approaches that can capture living cells from solid tumors … will substantially expand the single-cell proteomics field and provide novel insights into cancer biology.

NCI also intends to support projects to develop novel therapeutic agents that target cancer stem cells, to develop failed chemotherapeutic drugs, and to validate 3D human tissue culture systems that mimic the tumor microenvironment, among others.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Medicine intends to fund projects seeking to develop biomarkers for rare diseases that could be used as endpoints for clinical trial measurements.

Long-term clinical trials are not feasible for many rare disease patients, according to NCI, so well characterized and relevant biomarkers that could help predict clinical benefit are needed to help provide new therapies to these patients. These biomarkers also could later be used to develop new diagnostic tests for rare diseases.

NCATS also is seeking proposals for projects that will explore the potential use of the CRISPR/CAS systems for genome editing applications. These new tools "hold much promise for a host of applications," but there is still much to know about the efficiency of these reagents and their potential for off-target editing.

A better understanding of CRISPR/CAS tools will make them more useful for creating models systems, in cell and gene therapies, and for use in rapid, genome-wide interrogations of gene function, similar to how RNAi is used currently.

The CDC's National Center of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities seeks proposals for projects to develop devices for rapid point-of-care screening to identify individuals with the most common forms of sickle cell diseases, and to identify cytomegalovirus, or evidence of previous infections, in pregnant women.

CDC's National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases wants to fund efforts to develop reagents for diagnosing fungal infections in formalin-fixed, paraffinized tissue blocks, and reagents and devices that could be used to rapidly detect endemic fungal infections.

The CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDs, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention is soliciting proposals for efforts to develop a lab test for detecting serum biomarkers associated with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Other NIH and CDC institutes and centers are seeking to support SBIR projects in a wide range of areas in which small businesses may drive development of new tests, reagents, and devices that address medical and public health problems.