Many of you are familiar with the Health and Human Services (HHS) SBIR/STTR Omnibus GRANT solicitation. You may be less familiar with the once yearly NIH and CDC SBIR CONTRACT solicitation that was released recently with a closing date of October 22, 2018.

Even though HHS/NIH is considered to be primarily a granting agency that accepts investigator-initiated research topics, CDC and NIH’s Institutes and Centers (ICs) may also request proposals for focused, specific topics using the Contract solicitation. SBIR contracts allow an IC to direct companies to develop products in areas of high priority, usually with a narrow technical focus. Companies may NOT submit the same project to both the grant and contract mechanisms.
Other key differences include:

Topics in this 2019 solicitation include:

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
016 Synthetic Technologies for Advancement of Research and Therapeutics (START)
017 Universal Medium/Blood Mimetic for Use in Integrated Organs-on-Chips
018 Non-PDMS Biocompatible Alternatives for Organs-On-Chips

National Cancer Institute (NCI)
382 Integrated Subcellular Microscopy and ‘Omics in Cancer Cell Biology
383 Smart, Multi-Core Biopsy Needle
384 Digital Healthcare Platform to Reduce Financial Hardship for Cancer Patients
385 Leveraging Connected Health Technologies to Address and Improve Health Outcomes of Long Term Cancer Survivors
386 Novel Approaches for Local Delivery of Chemopreventive Agents
387 Multiplexed Preclinical Tools for Longitudinal Characterization of Immunological Status in Tumor and its Microenvironment
388 In vitro Diagnostic for the Liver Flukes Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis
389 Development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools to Understand and Duplicate Experts’ Radiation Therapy Planning for Prostate Cancer
390 Clonogenic High-Throughput Assay for Screening Anti-Cancer Agents and Radiation Modulators
391 Drugs or Devices to Exploit the Immune Response Generated by Radiation Therapy
392 Clinical Trials of Systemic Targeted Radionuclide Therapies
393 Sensing Tools to Measure Biological Response to Radiotherapy
394 Combinatory Treatment Modalities Utilizing Radiation to Locally Activate or Release Systemically Delivered Therapeutics
395 Targeted Therapy for Cancer- and Cancer Therapy-Related Cachexia
396 Imaging for Cancer Immunotherapies

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
106 Active MRI Needle
107 Transcatheter Potts Shunt
108 Device System for Transcatheter Repair of Postinfarction Ventricular Septal Defect

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA))
016 A Wearable Alcohol Biosensor that Quantifies Blood Alcohol Concentration in Real Time
017 Data Science Tools for Alcohol Research

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
063 In Vivo Targeted Degradation of HIV Proteins
064 Particle-Based Delivery of HIV Env Immunogens
065 Co-Delivery and Formulation of Adjuvants for HIV Vaccines
066 Effective Targeted Delivery of RNA-based Vaccines and Therapeutics
067 Methods Improving HIV Protein Expression: Cell Substrate and Protein Purification
068 Reagents for Immunologic Analysis of Non-mammalian and Underrepresented Mammalian Models
069 B Cell Receptor and T Cell Receptor Repertoire Computational Tools
070 Development of Sample Sparing Assay
071 Adjuvant Discovery for Vaccines and for Autoimmune and Allergic Diseases
072 Adjuvant Development for Vaccines and for Autoimmune and Allergic Diseases
073 Mobile Health Point-of-Care Diagnostics
074 Development of POC Assays to Quantify anti-Tuberculosis Antibiotics in Blood
075 POC Diagnostic for Gonorrhea and Determination of Antimicrobial Susceptibility

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
165 DEA-Compliant Drug Detection and Deactivation Technology to Deter Opioid Theft in Hospitals for Next Generation Controlled Substance Diversion Prevention Program (CSDPP)
166 Leveraging Health IT Solutions to Combat Opioid Misuse

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Center for Global Health (CGH)
010 Multiplex Detection of Recent and Prior Exposure to Pathogens
011 Preservation of Supply Quality During Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Transport

National Center for Chronic Disease and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP)
041 Community Based Worksite Wellness App Linking Employees to Wellness Resources
042 Objective Measurement of Opioid Withdrawal in Newborns

National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
020 Novel Coatings/Surfaces on Indwelling Medical Devices to Prevent Biofilms

National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)
01 Rapid Field Test to Improve Swimming Pool Water/Air Quality

Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR)
03 Rapid Test for Simultaneous Detection of Influenza (types A and B) and Streptococcus (Group A)

Center for Disease Control (CDC)
010 Multiplex Detection of Recent and Prior Exposure to Pathogens
011 Preservation of Supply Quality During Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Transport
041 Community Based Worksite Wellness App Linking Employees to Wellness Resources
042 Objective Measurement of Opioid Withdrawal in Newborns
020 Novel Coatings/Surfaces on Indwelling Medical Devices to Prevent Biofilms
01 Rapid Field Test to Improve Swimming Pool Water/Air Quality
03 Rapid Test for Simultaneous Detection of Influenza (types A and B) and Streptococcus (Group A)

Some final tips for a strong SBIR contract proposal

  • Carefully read the topic to understand the very specific technical requirements. Respond completely and directly to what is requested. It’s all about THEM.
  • Remember the Phase I goal is still the same as all SBIRs: Demonstrate FEASIBILITY
  • ….and the goal of the Phase III is still COMMERCIALIZATION
  • Do not exceed the specific topic budget limitations (total cost for the project). Not even by $1.
  • Follow the outline and formatting requirements which are much different than for a grant.
  • Remember that you must register at electronic Contract Proposal Submission (eCPS) to submit. This may take a few days.
  • Be sure to request a debrief in writing within 3 calendar days of notice of non-award.
  • Consider attending the HHS SBIR PHS 2019-1 Contract Webinar on August 16, 2018, 2 pm EDT to learn more. Register

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Becky Aistrup is Managing Partner of BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting