Target ALS Issues Call For Letters of Intent for New Collaborative “Industry-Led Consortia (ILCs)”
Target ALS Foundation is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation working to accelerate ALS drug development down barriers to ALS research. Currently, we are announcing a new call that aims to encourage ALS research ideation and active involvement from the pharma/biotech industry. The chosen mechanism is to fund “Industry-Led Consortia (ILCs)” that bring together investigators from pharma/biotech and academia to work on a collaborative project, including direct funding for the industry partner. We invite letters of intent for ILCs by October 19, 2022.
This call is being sent widely to the ALS community and beyond. As with all Target ALS Foundation calls, only collaborative projects will be funded. Collaborative projects for this call comprise groups of 3-5 laboratories working around a common research theme or target. Each project must have a project leader (or a co-project leader) based in a pharma/biotech company. Involvement of companies or investigators with relevant expertise, but no prior involvement in ALS research, is encouraged. The pharma/biotech partner must have ongoing internal lab operations and a dedicated lab personnel who can participate in experimentations to advance aims of the project.
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 in attached administrative document). The total budget for an ILC cannot exceed a maximum of $500,000 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 targets for ALS therapeutics, or for novel biomarkers and other tools to facilitate human proof-of-biology studies.
2) LETTER OF INTENT (LOI): To be considered for an ILC award the proposed Project Leader or Co-Leaders must first submit a LOI (1-2 pages). An investigator cannot apply with more than two LOIs. The deadline for submission is 5:00 pm EST on October 19, 2022. The letter of intent should clearly identify the scientists involved (with a short paragraph about the expected contribution of each individual), a defined set of scientific objectives with explicit milestones and, even for basic science or genetics projects, a short paragraph describing the present or future relevance of the project for ALS therapeutic strategies. The letter of intent should be submitted to the President of the Target ALS Foundation (Dr. Manish Raisinghani, email@example.com).
A given laboratory can be a member of no more than two ILC, provided that a distinct identified member of the group will be devoting >75% of their time to each project and will participate in all related project meetings. A lab participating in more than one ILC or a lab that is currently receiving Target ALS funding as part of an ongoing project, or as a result of no-cost extension, has to make clear how the project being proposed is new and distinct.
3) Target ALS Independent Review Committee (IRC) will undertake an administrative review of the letters of intent and by November 14, 2022, 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 November 14, 2022, and the deadline for full project proposal submission will be January 5, 2023. 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 two pages per participating group (i.e. up to 10 pages in Arial 11-point font for a project involving five 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/Goals; Background and Rationale; Research Plan; Statement of Relevance to ALS therapeutic strategies; a bullet list indicating the specific involvement of each partner; a table indicating milestones for the first two years of the project; and the literature cited. Preliminary data will be helpful but is not required.
5) The Independent Review Committee will complete project proposal review by February 24, 2023. Projects will be ranked based on the following criteria: Biological rationale, novelty, synergistic potential, feasibility of the proposed experiments and relevance to ALS therapeutic strategies.
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 appealing. 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 March 1, 2023, 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
Funding for a consortium will be renewed for the second year based on the submission of a satisfactory progress report to Target ALS in the 10th month of first year. A consortium will be eligible to compete for a third year of funding based on a competitive review of the updated consortium goals, as well as satisfactory progress at the end of second year of funding.
Please send any questions or comments to Target ALS President, Dr. Manish Raisinghani via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.