Although it may seem that COVID gets all the attention, there are still funding opportunities in other infectious disease areas. For example, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) just published an addendum to their BAA [beta.SAM.gov] regarding a program called The Microbicide 2020 R&D Project: Advancing the Research and Development of Innovative HIV Prevention Products for Women.
The addendum is a Sources Sought Notice (SSN) and responses expressing interest are due by March 11, 2021. The program seeks to accelerate research and development related to products that can address the soaring rates of HIV infection among women in Africa. The solicitation mentions ‘innovation’ several times which means solutions that are early in development will be considered. However early stage typically means higher risk and therefore lower dollars. The awards made through the program can last up to five years and will total $25M so individual awards will be smaller.
The solicitation has six areas of interest (AOI):
- Preclinical and early-stage research to identify and advance game changers,
- Advancement of imminent and promising products
- Design and implementation of clinical trials
- Engagement of stakeholders including end users, service providers, and other local parties
- Engagement of local partners in R&D implementation
- Engagement of experts and informants for timely and strategic R&D recommendations.
Proposals for funding research that does not have a clear path to technology development, basic research directed toward fuller knowledge, systems that have not generated credible preclinical data, and products that are more than five years away from an IND filing will not be considered responsive.
The expression of interest (EOI) can respond to more than one of the AOIs above but each must be clearly identified. Collaboration with other organizations and local African partners is strongly recommended. EOIs that are selected by a Scientific Review Board will be invited to co-develop a final concept paper with more detailed information that will go through a review process that will select final awardees. Details about the EOI and review/selection process are in the SSN.