NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health this month announced two related funding opportunities for small businesses developing platform delivery technologies for nucleic acid therapeutics.
In the announcement, the agency highlighted the potential for nucleic acid drugs based on microRNAs, RNAi, aptamers, antisense oligonucleotides, and other technologies to treat rare monogenic disorders, as well as more common conditions such as infectious diseases and cancer.
"Despite the broad therapeutic potential of nucleic acids, the major limiting factor is the ability to deliver these molecules into affected cells and tissues," the NIH said. "This limitation is due to the fact that, compared to small molecule drugs, nucleic acids are relatively large negatively charged polymers, which presents significant challenges from the standpoint of drug delivery."
To incentivize small businesses to generate new nucleic acid delivery approaches, the NIH is planning to award up to $325,000 a year in funding for Phase I projects, and as much as $2 million a year for Phase II efforts.
Technologies that will be considered include, but are not limited to, ones based on exosomes, liposomes, viral vectors, condensates, and medical devices.
Funding will be provided via Small Business Innovation Research grants or Small Business Technology Transfer grants. Submissions will be accepted beginning Nov. 5, and the funding programs expire on Sept. 8, 2016.