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Update: Research Funding Opportunity from the PRMRP

In the April Research Newsletter, MDF described an upcoming funding opportunity available through the Department of Defense’s Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). That funding opportunity has now been released and updated information is provided here.

The Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program provides a funding opportunity for research across a range of diseases and conditions. In FY2017, applications from 48 topic areas competed for a pool of $300M dollars in research grants. Eligible applicant organizations include U.S. and international universities, biotechnology companies, foundations, government organizations, and research institutes.

For FY2018, myotonic dystrophy is included for the first time as eligible for PRMRP funding.

In its final release, the FY2018 PRMRP includes four grant mechanisms. Although the Clinical Trial Award mechanism was included in a pre-announcement from the PRMRP, that mechanism was not included in the final release. The four grant mechanisms included are:

  • Discovery Award
    • Eligibility: postdoctoral or clinical fellow or above
    • Supports innovative, high risk/high reward hypothesis-driven research, excluding established lines of research; intended outcome is generation of preliminary data for future research projects; innovation is identified as the “most important review criterion,” while availability of substantial preliminary data is viewed as inappropriate for this mechanism
    • Support level: $200,000 maximum over 18 months maximum
    • MDF comment: similar to an NIH R21, but with postdocs eligible
    • Submission dates:
      • Pre-application (Letter of Intent): June 14, 2018
      • Application: June 28, 2018
  • Investigator-Initiated Research Award
    • Eligibility: Assistant Professor or above
    • Requires pre-application; full application by invitation based on pre-application
    • Supports original line of research, from basic lab research through translational and human subjects research (clinical trials not included), expectation that work is likely to have an important impact; option for inclusion of a partnering PI
    • Support level: $1.2 million ($1.5 million with partnering PI option) maximum, including indirect costs, over 3 years maximum
    • MDF comment: similar to an NIH R01
    • Submission dates:
      • Pre-application (Letter of Intent): June 12, 2018
      • Application: September 20, 2018
  • Focused Program Award
    • Eligibility: Full Professor or above
    • Requires pre-application; full application by invitation based on pre-application
    • Supports synergistic and multidisciplinary research including at least four distinct projects focused on an overarching challenge that is a critical problem or question in the field; should be “a clear intent to progress toward translational/clinical work over the course of the effort”
    • Support level: $10 million maximum, including indirect costs, over 4 years maximum
    • MDF comment: similar to an NIH Program Project (P01) or Center Grant (P50), requiring laser-like focus and tightly synergistic, individual projects each led by strong researchers in order to be competitive
    • Submission dates:
      • Pre-application (Letter of Intent): June 19, 2018
      • Application: September 20, 2018
  • Technology/Therapeutic Development Award
    • Eligibility: Assistant Professor or above
    • Requires pre-application; full application by invitation based on pre-application
    • Supports translation of preclinical findings (on a drug, device, or clinical guidelines) to the point of clinical development (clinical trials not included); must be focused toward product development—a drug or biologic, a device, or a knowledge-based product; strength of scientific rationale for the project is a key review criterion
    • Support level: $3 million maximum, including indirect costs, over 3 years maximum
    • In addition to academics and research institutes, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies have successfully competed for these awards in prior years
    • MDF comment: for drugs or biologics, this resembles NINDS/NIH translational cooperative agreement mechanisms focused on pre-IND activities; but the mechanism also includes activities such as developing and validating clinical guidance/guidelines for standard of care
    • Submission dates:
      • Pre-application (Letter of Intent): June 12, 2018
      • Application: September 20, 2018

Make sure that you meet eligibility requirements, including having the appropriate registrations so your application can be submitted. The application process requires submission of a pre-application through the Electronic Biomedical Research Application Portal (eBRAP) prior to being given permission to submit a full submission. Full applications are submitted through Grants.gov (the grant submission site for all U.S. agencies, including the NIH). Applicants must be registered with eBRAP in advance of submission, while Grants.gov registration is required for applicant organizations and individuals must have an eRA Commons ID.

This is the first time applications on myotonic dystrophy are eligible for PRMRP support. MDF strongly urges investigators in the myotonic dystrophy community to apply for the pool of funds allocated to the FY2018 PRMRP. Applications in the following areas are encouraged, but this is not an exclusive list:

  • Research on the role of epigenetic factors in the onset, progression, and/or severity of myotonic dystrophy in relevant animal models or patients.
  • Research into the mechanisms of expanded CTG or CCTG repeat instability in somatic or germline cells in myotonic dystrophy.
  • Identification of biomarkers that can be detected through minimally invasive means to signal early changes in the progression of myotonic dystrophy.
  • Development and/or testing of novel and/or innovative treatments, including those utilizing gene editing or silencing.
  • Clinical research into the natural history of myotonic dystrophy, to understand disease progression and develop/validate clinical trial endpoint measures across the multiple organ systems involved in the disease.

Note that while there are similarities in the PRMRP to familiar NIH grant mechanisms, it is essential to read the Overview of the Funding Opportunity document carefully for the grant mechanism(s) you intend to apply. Pre-applications and applications can be rejected if they do not address all required components listed in the funding opportunity announcements.

 

 

 

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