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NCI to Provide $10M in SBIR Funds for 'Omics Projects

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Cancer Institute said this week that it plans to provide $10 million for a number of new Small Business Innovation Research contracts in 2013 that will fund a range of 'omics-related projects.

Through its partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NCI expects that these SBIR awards will spur innovation in the private sector and help small businesses develop innovations for detecting and treating cancer, improving cancer research, and advancing products toward commercialization.

Among the topic areas that NCI plans to fund include efforts to develop specific types of diagnostics, therapeutics, and technologies to advance proteomics, metabolomics, and glycomics research

NCI plans to provide $300,000 for Phase I projects lasting nine months or $1.5 million for Phase II projects that last two years aimed at developing companion diagnostic assays that identify patients for which a particular therapeutic regimen, existing drugs, and drugs that are in clinical development will be safe and effective. NCI expects to fund four projects under this award.

NCI also will provide the same amount of funds for four awards for projects seeking to integrate new or established technologies for molecular characterization and analysis of individual circulating tumor cells found in blood or bone marrow. Ideally, small businesses would use the funds to develop a modular platform that combines a CTC capture and separation module with several other modules for downstream molecular analysis, including genomic, metabolomic, proteomic, and mutation analysis at the individual level.

NCI also will award $200,000 for nine-month studies and $1 million for two-year efforts to develop new technologies that generate reproducible, well-characterized anti-peptide capture reagents for use in affinity-enriched proteomic studies for cancer research. These reagents should be comparable or superior to ELISA-based antibody technologies, should produce a strong immune system response to peptide antigens, and may include the use of species other than mice for the generation of antibodies. NCI expects that these reagents will be developed in coordination with its Clinical Proteomic Technologies for Cancer program.

Another program will fund between three and five projects with $200,000 for nine months and $1 million for two years to develop isotopically labeled and unlabeled metabolite standards for use with mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

NCI also expects to fund four to six awards of $300,000 for nine months and $1 million for two years for efforts to synthesize and commercially distribute well-characterized carbohydrate libraries that can be used in high-throughput assays, are useful as standards in mass spectrometry and NMR, and to expand existing screening platforms, structural assays, and to develop other tools. These libraries would need to be made with appropriate quality control documentation, and at reasonable cost.

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