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BARDA and NCATS seek immune-related submissions for DRIVe tissue chip program

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe) opened a new area of interest (AOI) under the EZ Broad Agency Announcement (EZ-BAA) solicitation, in partnership with the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), for the development of advanced microphysiological systems (MPS) that can replicate components of vital human tissues and immune system functions and monitor their interactions. Full proposals may be submitted until June 30, 2021.

MPS, also called tissue chips, are 3D biophysical platforms comprised of cellular constructs that mimic the structure and function of vital human tissues and organs, such as the lungs, liver, and heart. Accurately modeling human systems in vitro to test treatment effectiveness is a key step to accelerating the pace of drug discovery and development. However, predicting and testing the effects of therapeutics during early clinical studies is difficult, costly, time-consuming, and can fail to anticipate side effects in people. To safely and quickly evaluate a drug’s effectiveness and toxicity, researchers could utilize MPS in the early stages of studies. MPS may serve as a predictive tool in the drug development process, aid the screening of signaling molecules and drug targets, and help develop precision medicine-based therapies.

Experts at BARDA expect that the use of advanced MPS will create new opportunities for understanding mechanisms of health and disease, and enable more efficient assessment of promising potential biomedical interventions. Recent rapid advances in this field now make the prospect of MPS commercialization and broad usability more realistic. Key challenges remain, however, including difficulty of manufacturing, integration and use of medically-relevant sensors, and the combination of multiple tissues anchored by the immune system to model the human body’s response.

Under this EZ-BAA AOI, BARDA is seeking applicants with product ideas that focus on enhancing existing, fully-mature MPS that incorporate a human immune system component. These 3D platforms should include in-line sensors for continuous tissue monitoring, and utilize materials suitable for automated manufacturing and assembly of the platforms.

The EZ-BAA was created to provide a streamlined process through which BARDA's Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe) can review and accept applications for development funding of transformative products and technologies to protect Americans from health security threats. The application process is both business-friendly and easy to follow.

For more details:
View the EZ-BAA (BAA-20-100-SOL-0002): https://beta.sam.gov/opp/f421de20343e4cb28212a7c067898435/view
Scroll down to the Attachments/Links section
Click on the link for Special Instructions 013, AOI #7 (PDF - 205KB).

Read more: https://www.medicalcountermeasures.gov/newsroom/2021/ncats/

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