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TTC Invention Development Program

CONTENTS


Technology Transfer Center Funding

 

Vision

The TTC's Invention Development Program funds proof-of-concept studies as it seeks to facilitate partnering by de-risking NCI inventions.

MISSION

The mission of the Invention Development Program is to accelerate the development timeline of NCI intramural inventions by advancing the technologies through critical, early stages of the validation.

GoalS

idp funding ADDS VALUE

  • The NCI Technology Transfer Center (TTC) often hears "it's too early" or "it's missing vital data" applied to inventions by possible licensing and collaboration partners. Recognizing the challenges to researchers seeking an industry partner for commercial development, the TTC created an internal funding program called the Invention Development Program (IDP) to de-risk early-stage technologies and make them more attractive to industry partners, entrepreneurs, and investors;

  • The IDP invites NCI inventors to apply for funding if they are facing technical or budgetary challenges to develop a commercially relevant invention in the areas of therapeutics, diagnostics, or devices. "Inventors" includes Principal Investigators, permanent research staff, and post-docs with a letter of support from their supervisory PI or Chief;

  • Proposals should focus on a minimum of commercially-relevant, proof-of-concept studies that are critical to creating interest from companies. The IDP can assist inventors in creating a development plan;

    • Stage I: Funding of up to approximately $30K 

    • Stage II: Follow-on IDP funding, based on positive Stage I results, up to approximately $50K

  • Stage I and Stage II applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis in monthly meetings where the inventor will discuss their proposal with a panel of subject matter experts. Funding is subject to evaluation and recommendation by the IDP Evaluation Panel and availability of funds;

  • Does not provide funds for basic science publications, although that may be a side benefit;

  • Will fund three to five new projects each year on a first come-first funded basis until funds are obligated. Remaining applications will be rolled into the following fiscal year if the applicant desires;
  • The IDP has funded the following types of studies for various therapeutics and devices:
    • Efficacy, e.g., rodent xenografts, biodistribution/imaging
    • Toxicity, Maximum Tolerated Dose (MTD), PK
    • Stability, solubility
    • Scale-up and production of lead agents or intermediates to accommodate preliminary animal studies and to provide samples to potential collaborators
    • Prototype device development
       
  • Quantifies opportunities in specific markets via market analysis;
     
  • Supplied project management support: locating, coordinating, and managing resources and contracts;
     
  • Facilitates discussions with companies and other stakeholders to determine market and technical needs.

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Strategic fit

The TTC invention Development Program does not stand alone, but is part of a comprehensive strategy to bring NCI biomedical solutions to the public.
  • The IDP only considers NCI discoveries in patent prosecution, i.e., those with at least a provisional patent filings, or issued patents;
  • The IDP fills the technology gaps that can be a barrier to entry to other internal and external resources such as licensing, co-development research agreements (CAs, CRADAs), the NCI CCR Drug Development Collaborative , the NExT Program, FLEX, and CAPR;
     
  • Responds to technical challenges posed by potential company collaborators;

  • Leveragies expertise from the TTC and the TTC's Invention Development and Marketing Unit to facilitate the development of NIH discoveries by identifying key markets and potential development partners (CRADAs, licenses), market validation studies;

Note: IDP strongly recommends that validation studies are conducted by a third party. IDP utilizes the facilities at Frederick National Lab for Cancer Research (FNLCR) as well as outside contractors such as through CREx.

    Apply for funding

    IDP review

    • Following receipt of an application for funding, the TTC will conduct a market analysis to examine the likelihood of commercializing an invention;
       
    • The best time for IDP funding is between Provisional and National Stage filings of patent prosecution, but IDP will consider inventions at all stages of patenting

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      How IDP Evaluates Applications

      Criteria

      • Discoveries or inventions under patent prosecution
      • NCI researchers named as inventors on a Employee Invention Report or patent application
      • Researchers who are not Principal Investigators need approval of their Lab or Branch Chief prior to applying for funding
      • Potential to partner with an organization that can develop or commercialize the technology through a CRADA or license
      • In most cases, all inventions pass through scientific review at least once via the TTC's Technology Review Group (TRG). Inventions that have gone through "Bypass" will be evaluated separately;
        • TRG meets monthly to recommend to the Division Director whether an invention should proceed through patent prosecution
        • TRG Reviewers are NCI Principal Investigators who have deep experience leading scientific teams, patenting, and licensing
      • Therapeutics, devices, and diagnostics
      • Pre-clinical proof-of-concept studies for  inventions in patent prosecution. The IDP cannot fund research for scientific publications; 
      • Utility (i.e., new/unique device) or composition of matter (i.e., new molecule) patents for which NCI retains patent rights
        • Methods patents are generally not considered strong enough to support business enterprises. Discoveries that involve products discovered or made by outside entities (e.g., combination therapies) may be considered on a case-by-case basis;

        Commercialization

        • What is the (commercial) product? (therapeutic, diagnostic, device, vaccine)
        • Orphan drug status?
        • What feedback has been obtained from companies?
        • How does this technology serve an unmet medical need?
        • What differentiates it from currently available technologies and what data support this?
        • How many other technologies address this problem and what is their stage of development?
        • Type: Composition of matter, method, or utility
          • When was the patent application made (filing date)
          • What is the current stage of patent prosecution?
         Technical
        • Known target or a new target
        • Uniqueness of the mechanism of action
        • Current stage of the research
         Programmatic
        • Specific technical challenge(s) to address
        • Facilities/Services needed
        • Availability of services
        • Estimated cost
        Evaluation Panel

        IDP Evaluation Panel consists of NCI and FNLCR staff with commercial and/or product development experience. A funding recommendation is made by consensus vote ( the IDP Lead is recused), in a closed meeting following the proposal presentation.

        Questions about these criteria can be directed to John Hewes and your Technology Transfer Manager.

        Downloads

        Contact Us

        John Hewes tel. 240-276-5515, or hewesj@nih.gov

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        Updated
        Tuesday, February 5, 2019