NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Cancer Institute will provide $10 million in 2012 to fund small businesses developing cancer diagnostics and therapeutics that have already received Small Business Innovation Research funding and are planning to move their technologies to the market.
The SBIR Phase IIB Bridge Awards will provide up to $1 million to fund projects that will develop technologies in three areas: in vitro and ex vivo cancer diagnostics and prognostics; cancer imaging technologies, interventional devices, and in vivo diagnostics; and cancer therapeutics.
The central thrust of this program, which provides funds for up to three years, is to help SBIR phase II awardees move their projects toward commercialization by filling in the post phase II funding gap commonly called the "valley of death."
Applicants for these Bridge awards are expected to plan to partner with third-party investors and/or strategic partners that would provide funding equal to or greater than the NCI funds. The applicants' plans may include preclinical and/or clinical stages of technology development, and clinical trials may be proposed but are not required.
The projects could include development of molecular diagnostics and prognostics, including in vitro diagnostic multivariate index assays, image analysis tools for diagnosis, and spectroscopic techniques for in vitro and in vivo tissue analysis, and in vitro and ex vivo technologies beyond these areas may be considered, according to the funding announcement.
NCI expects that small business concerns applying for funding in these areas already have completed several developmental steps including identification and development of cancer biomarkers, as well as development of a prototype system or assay, and characterization of the system's reproducibility, variability, and accuracy. The applicants also are expected to already have developed a qualified assay for the biomarker that is applicable in the clinic and to have initiated validation studies in a relevant patient population.