RFP Research Contract: Developing a vaccine against infectious diseases
- Client: A start up company with strong academic collaborations
- Client Profile: Under 5 employees; VC backed; virtual operation to a great extent
- Total Budget: $65M over 5 years
- Funding Agency/Institute: NIAID/BARDA
Specific Challenges: A group of researchers who formed a company after leaving academia decided to apply for an ambitious project involving a multi-institutional collaboration with an especially complex clinical component. They approached FreeMind less than 2 months before the deadline. With the assistance of several of our consultants and analysts, the proposal finally passed the first stage of review. FreeMind team then led the management of a lengthy negotiation process that involved submission of addition materials, eventually getting the contract fully approved.
Deployment-related medical research program clinical trial
- Client: A big pharmaceutical company
- Client Profile: Highly innovative research team of a big pharma company, no external collaborations, project implementation involves multiple sites in the US and across the world
- Budget: $4.2M over 1 year
- Funding Agency/Institute: DOD
Specific Challenges: Initiating the work only two weeks before the deadline, this project posed great challenges. Some of these challenges included a team of researchers with no previous experience in writing and working with a government agency. The project was a large scale, multicenter Phase III clinical trial conducted at 15 sites in 4 countries, on 3 continents. As such, much coordination was needed to collect all the components necessary from all participating sites. The budget was the most complex aspect, requiring a subaward from each of the 15 sites (4 different currencies were used), with certifications of each of the costs. In addition to compiling the initial application, we also assisted the client with very lengthy and significant post-review demands of the DOD, including a complete overhaul of the budget.
RFP Contract: Establishing a multi-institution research center
- Client: Consortium of an independent research institute, university and a public company
- Client Profile: Though very experienced in single project applications, neither the PI not the institute had any past experience with large scale multi-project applications; consortium was created in real-time as the application was crafted
- Budget: $30.6M over 5 years
- Funding Agency/Institute: NIH
Specific Challenges: The client in this case was an independent and relatively small research institute who was applying for the first time for a contract of this magnitude. The project involved a partnership with 2 other large organizations with sometimes conflicting interests. In the 6 weeks that were available, we provided the client strategic guidance on the best presentation of the project and capabilities in light of the anticipated competition, and carefully managed the grant writing process, integrating the work of multiple writers from various backgrounds and scientific fields. The budget was especially complex, given the large number of subaward budgets.
Research Grant: ARRA Go-Grant
- Client: Private pharmaceutical company in collaboration with several academic partners
- Client Profile: Medium size company with no real grant experience and a short timeframe
- Budget: $7.6M over 2 years
- Funding Agency/Institute: NIMH/ODS
Specific Challenges: Essentially, we started working with the client only 9 days before the deadline. Moreover, due to the publicity of the stimulus package (the award was part of the ARRA program), the competition was especially tough, with thousands of other applicants bidding for the same funds and ultimately less than 1% awarded. The structure of the grant was also different than the ordinary format that is submitted to the NIH. We began working with the client, managing the writing of the various sections. Once the proposal passed the peer review with an excellent score, the institute requested budgetary adjustments, which we also helped coordinate.
Unsolicited R01: Understanding scientific mechanism of action
- Client: Foreign, academic laboratory
- Client profile: Highly acclaimed and awarded researcher from a non American university with no past NIH experience
- Budget: $1M over 4 years
- Funding Agency/Institute: NIGMS
Specific Challenges: Although the applicant was an experienced scientist, this was her first time applying for funding from the NIH, and hence was completely unfamiliar with the process. Being a foreign applicant was another hurdle that we needed to overcome, including significant inability to scientifically present the research project in English. Although the proposal scored very well, it was not selected for funding, and because of the highly favorable review, there was little input to guide the revision. Revision required strategically refocusing the application to advance it into the fundable range. This was completed successfully and the application was finally awarded.
Biodefense Challenge Grant: Developing therapeutics against Antrhax
- Client: Privately-held biopharmaceutical company
- Client profile: Well trained and experienced team of researchers with numerous NIH awards, though mostly SBIR/STTR awards
- Budget: $4.4M over 2 years
- Funding Agency/Institute: NIAID
Specific Challenges: The writing of this proposal was managed on the client's end by a person who was new to the company and was not involved in the particular research proposed. Senior management, or those directly involved in the research, were not readily available. The client provided us a large amount of relatively non-prioritized data, with little guidance available. It was necessary to apply a great deal of selectivity in order to decide what information to include and to a great degree the writing of the application was done by the FreeMind team alone. However, the project was eventually funded.
R01 grant in response to RFA: Developing technology for high-throughput genome sequencing
- Client: Publicly-traded life science company
- Client profile: The client organization had no past NIH experience, although the PI had personal experience as an academic researcher. The project involved relatively high profile academic collaborators, although the applications and award were under the company's name
- Budget: $2.2M over 3 years
- Funding Agency/Institute: NHGRI
Specific Challenges: This project was a particularly ambitious one, as it was focused on developing a technology with 10,000 times improved performance relative to current state of the art. By its nature, the subject material was more focused on technology and engineering aspects, rather than strict testing of a biological hypothesis. Moreover, we knew that the field was highly competitive, with many formidable competitors, whose capabilities were well known. In addition we had to take into account the delicate presentation of high profile collaborators so as to avoid overshadowing the lead PI and applicant organization.