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Two webinars offer help to compete for NIH’s Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hubs (REACH)

NIH just launched the funding opportunity announcement for the third cohort of its regional biomedical proof-of-concept and accelerator program, the Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hubs. On Dec. 12, NIH will be hosting a funding opportunity announcement pre-application webinar which will provide a question and answer opportunity with NIH SEED and NIGMS.

Would an increase in the quantity of NIH SBIR awards impact their overall quality?

In a recent study titled Does NIH select the right healthcare ventures through the SBIR grant program?, researchers from Rutgers University and the University of Connecticut took advantage of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to conduct a natural experiment. The opportunity was available due to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) decision to use ARRA dollars to fund additional Phase I SBIR awards from general SBIR competitions, and the researchers compared these 19 ARRA-funded awards to the other 479 Phase I awards that were first funded in the same competitions with regular appropriations.

Recent Research: Access to information is key to SBIR effectiveness

Accelerators, incubators and entrepreneurial assistance programs work to ensure their startups understand their product’s market competition, customers, and supply chain. As it turns out, that’s also good advice for small research-based firms trying to move from SBIR proof-of-concept funding to securing the larger Phase II awards. A survey of approximately 250 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program awardees by researchers finds market information from suppliers, customers, and competitors to be key for small entrepreneurial firms to increase publicly funded research and development (R&D) effectiveness.

Useful Stats: NIH SBIR/STTR application success rates & trends, FY 2012-2021

In fiscal year 2021, the nationwide success rate of applicants for National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I awards decreased slightly from FY 2020. This continued a downward trend over recent years. The success rate for NIH SBIR/STTR Phase I was nearly 13 percent (647 of 5,132 approved) in FY 2021, a decrease from nearly 14 percent (636 of 4,684 approved) in FY 2020 and from nearly 16 percent for all proposals submitted over the past decade.

Pitch to secure ARPA-H headquarters location begins

With a $1 billion investment over the next three years, Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) will be a standalone agency within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is designed to produce quicker research outcomes. Published reports indicate multiple states are currently positioning themselves to host the headquarters of the new agency, with California, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, having stated their interest in hosting the new headquarters.

Report: NIH SBIR/STTR program supported 99 drugs, numerous successful companies over 25 years

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported the development of 99 drugs from 1996-2020 — a total that includes 16 percent of all such treatments that made a “significant” advance over available medicines. This finding is just one of the impacts that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) attributes to the program in a new report.

Feds seek input on manufacturing policy, scientific data

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) has released a new request for information (RFI) related to a national strategic plan for advanced manufacturing, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are seeking information on how the scientific community uses public data tools. Both RFIs provide an opportunity for the tech-based economic development field to shape the future of federal innovation policy. 

Looking for inspiration? NIH develops interactive tool for discovering successful high-tech small businesses

As the global economy continues to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released an interactive online tool for discovering success stories of small business innovation and entrepreneurship. Showcasing several of the businesses that have successfully leveraged NIH small business funding — totaling more than $1 billion annually — to develop healthcare products and services, NIH’s Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) office hopes that the tool will inspire others to start businesses and develop their technologies.

NIH boosting diversity efforts in review processes

The NIH’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program (HRHR) has the potential to overturn fundamental paradigms, but historically the applicant and awardee pools have not fully represented the demographic and geographic diversity across the U.S. biomedical workforce, says the NIH’s deputy director for extramural research. Those concerns, and others about bias in the peer review process, have led to a new approach — the HRHR program is going to anonymize the review of the Transformative Research Award applications.

NIH launches $1.5 billion “shark tank” to accelerate testing

The most recently-passed federal legislation to address COVID-19 included funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to accelerate testing. The provision, added by Sens. Roy Blunt and Lamar Alexander, was envisioned to take an approach similar to TV’s “Shark Tank.” NIH is implementing the funds as a three-phase, “Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx),” challenge with up to $500 million in prizes. Teams with COVID-19 testing solutions will submit proposals, which will be evaluated by experts from the five hubs of NIH’s Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network. Finalists will receive assistance from experts before the final selection is made.

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