2020 Call for Industry-Led Consortia
Call for Letters of Intent to Target ALS Foundation for New Collaborative Biomarker Consortia Projects
(Posted May 5, 2020 / Letters of intent due by July 17, 2020)
Target ALS Foundation is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation working to accelerate ALS drug development and break down barriers to ALS research. Below, we announce a new call that aims to encourage biofluid-based ALS biomarker discovery and validation with active involvement from the pharma/biotech industry. The chosen mechanism is to bring together investigators from pharma/biotech and academia to work on a collaborative consortia project, including direct funding for the industry partner. We invite letters of intent by July 17, 2020.
This call is being sent widely to the ALS community and beyond. As with all Target ALS calls, only collaborative projects will be funded. Collaborative projects for this call comprise groups of 2-3 laboratories working around a common research theme or biomarker. Each consortium must include a collaborating investigator based in a pharma/biotech company. Involvement of companies with relevant expertise but no prior involvement in ALS research is also encouraged.
The maximum budget for a lab per project – including direct funding to the pharma/biotech partner – cannot exceed a maximum of $130,000 per lab/year (details are in the administrative document here and a budget template is accessible here). The total budget for the consortium cannot exceed a maximum of $300,000 per year. Confidentiality of each collaborator’s data, research and intellectual property will be strictly honored. Target ALS Foundation does not seek ownership of any intellectual property or financial gains that result, directly or indirectly, from its funding.
Next Steps and Deadlines:
1) TOPICS OF INTEREST: Target ALS is particularly interested in receiving projects that focus on identification, validation and development of new biofluid-based biomarkers for ALS.
2) LETTER OF INTENT: To be considered for an award, the proposed Project Leader or Co-Leaders must first submit a letter of intent (1-2 pages). The deadline for submission is July 17, 2020. The letter of intent should clearly identify the scientists involved (with a short paragraph about the expected contribution of each), a defined set of scientific objectives with explicit milestones, and a signed commitment from a repository to enable access to requisite biofluid samples to successfully carry out the project. Funding for successful projects will only be initiated once the material transfer agreements have been fully executed between the investigators(s) and a repository. The letter of intent should be submitted to the President of the Target ALS Foundation (Dr. Manish Raisinghani, email@example.com). An investigator can submit a maximum of two LOIs as long as each application is focused on a distinct project. A given laboratory can be a member of up to two consortia projects, provided that a distinct identified member of the group will be devoting their time to each project and will participate in all related project meetings.
3) ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW: Target ALS will undertake an administrative review of the letters of intent and by July 24, 2020 will provide feedback to project leaders concerning potential overlap with other proposals, or modifications needed to align with Target ALS objectives.
4) FULL PROPOSALS: Invitations for full project proposals will be sent out on July 25, 2020 and the deadline for full project proposal submission will be September 4, 2020. Full proposals should be as concise as possible consistent with clear exposition of the goals and main steps of the project. The total length should not exceed 2 pages per participating group (i.e. up to 6 pages in Arial 11 pt for a project involving 3 partners). The project leader can choose to use the allowable space as they deem fit to best present the project plan.
The total length includes the following sections: Specific Aims; Background and Biological Rationale; Research Plan; Statement of relevance to ALS biomarker strategy; A bullet list indicating the specific involvement of each partner; A table indicating milestones for the first 2 years of the project; Literature cited. Preliminary data will be helpful but are not required.
**As indicated above, a signed agreement with a biofluid repository ensuring access to biofluid samples necessary to successfully complete the project will be required for a project to be considered for funding.** Target ALS will work with investigators to facilitate contact with biofluid repositories that have agreed to provide access to biofluid samples with no reach through on the data and intellectual property generated by the consortium. Funding for successful projects will only be initiated once the material transfer agreements have been fully executed between the investigators(s) and a repository.
The following repositories have expressed willingness to provide access to biofluid samples to facilitate your Target ALS funded project:
AMBRoSIA Project: Please contact Dr. Martin Turner (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Target ALS Biofluid Repository:Please contact Dr. Robert Bowser (Robert.Bowser@dignityhealth.org).
5) PROPOSAL REVIEW: Target ALS Independent Review Committee will complete project proposal review by October 30, 2020. Projects will be ranked on the basis of the following criteria: Biological rationale, Novelty, Synergistic potential, Feasibility of proposed experiments and Relevance to ALS diagnosis and/or clinical trials.
Because of the restricted length of the proposals, projects will not be marked down for lack of detailed information or absence of preliminary data. High-risk proposals are encouraged, meaning that lack of guaranteed success will not be a negative providing that the approach is seen to be exciting. However, projects that do not appear feasible on the basis of the information provided will not be highly ranked.
6) PROJECT FUNDING: Project funding will commence on November 2, 2020, or as soon as possible after this date depending on the time needed to subcontract with individual institutions. Details of financial and scientific reporting will be provided at this stage. Based on scope of some consortia projects, the IRC may award only a one-year grant.
Funding for a consortium will be renewed for the second year based on submission of a satisfactory progress report to Target ALS in the 11th month of first year.
Please send any questions or comments to Manish Raisinghani (email@example.com).