The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) has recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) aimed at market research and planning. The primary objective of this RFI is to identify potential vendors capable of providing advanced genomic sequencing and/or associated sample preparation capabilities. The JPEO-CBRND is particularly interested in solutions that can be developed and deployed within a 24-month timeframe.
The Need for Advanced Sequencing
In the current scenario, handheld biological identifiers in the field can only detect a limited range of Biological Warfare Agents (BWAs). This limitation poses a significant risk to operational warfighters who might be exposed to unknown or engineered biological threats during their missions. To counteract this vulnerability, the Department of Defense is keen on developing a sample preparation workflow that can work in tandem with a genomic sequencer. Such a capability would drastically reduce the detection and identification timeline from weeks to mere minutes, enhancing operational safety and flexibility.
Desired Capabilities for FFBS
The envisioned Far Forward Biological Sequencing (FFBS) system aims to equip Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Special Operations Task Forces (SOTFs) with a rapid, handheld biological sequencing and analysis device. This device would be capable of identifying an extensive range of BWAs, including unknown or newly engineered biological threats. The only limitation would be the device’s library and storage capacity.
For the sequencing device, the JPEO-CBRND has outlined a set of attributes. These include high accuracy in detecting DNA and RNA viruses and bacteria, quick sample-to-answer time, portability, user-friendly interface, long battery life, and ruggedness to withstand various environmental conditions.
Similarly, for the sample preparation capability, the attributes focus on ease of use, especially in challenging field conditions, and the ability to prepare samples for a wide range of viruses and bacteria.
JPEO RFI Seeks Additional Information
In addition to the primary requirements, the RFI also seeks additional information from respondents. This information includes basic company details, production capabilities, partnerships or subcontracting plans, technology readiness levels, current customer base, product specifications, and estimated costs.
A Non-Commitment from the Government
It is crucial to note that this RFI is purely for informational purposes. The government does not intend to award a contract based on the responses to this RFI. All provided information will be treated as non-binding, and the government reserves the right to use it as deemed necessary. Respondents are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible to allow the government to assess their capabilities comprehensively.
Enhancing the Defense Capabilities Against Biological Threats
The JPEO-CBRND’s RFI represents a significant step forward in enhancing the defense capabilities against biological threats. By seeking advanced genomic sequencing and sample preparation solutions, the Department of Defense aims to equip its personnel with the best tools to identify and counteract potential BWAs. It will be interesting to see the innovative solutions that come forth in response to this RFI and how they shape the future of biological defense.
JPEO RFI Due Date
For those interested in responding, the RFI submissions are due by COB 9/21/2023. The points of contact for this RFI are Contract Specialist Kevin Rohe ([email protected]) and Contracting Officer Alex Schupp ([email protected]).
If your company has considered applying for JPEO funding, EverGlade Consulting is the right partner to help make that application a reality. EverGlade Consulting is a national consulting firm connecting public sector needs with private sector solutions. We offer services ranging from Pursuit, Proposal and Post-Award support to comply with federal regulations at agencies including BARDA, ASPR, NIH, DTRA, JPEO, DOD, DOE, and DARPA.
For additional information about EverGlade Consulting, reach out to: [email protected]