NIDA Branch Chief, Jonathan D. Pollock, Ph.D., Encourages SBIR/STTR Grants on Reagent Kits Including iPSC

“We’re interested in areas of genetics, in terms of smoking cessation, pharmacogenomics, treatment of substance abuse, and particularly right now, issues related to prescription substance abuse,” Jonathan D. Pollock, Ph.D., chief of the Genetics and Molecular Neurobiology Research Branch at NIDA’s Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, told GEN.

In addition to that solicitation, Dr. Pollock said, the branch is interested in supporting commercialization and development of products, resources, and services through SBIR/STTR relevant to brain research. They include protein capture reagents, proteomics, genomics, pharmacogenomics, molecular diagnostics, nanotechnology, gene delivery and viral vectors, identification of RNA and DNA sequences in formalin fixed nervous tissue, shRNA, microfluidics, epigenetics diagnostics, therapeutics, and tools to detect epigenetic modifications.

The branch is also looking to support commercialization and development of biomarkers, optogenetics, reagents for iPS and neural stem cells, technologies to uniquely barcode cell types, improved super resolution microscopy methods, in vivo gene expression imaging, automated sectioning, image acquisition and 3D reconstruction of electron micrographic sections, genetically encoded markers for electron microscopy, and “big” genomic and proteomic data, including data visualization, data contextualization, and data analysis.

“What we’re really looking for is products that you could basically commercialize coming out of research. These can be things that are either products or services. I think that there are opportunities, particularly for groups of individuals that have an idea, IP, and want to have a startup company.”

SBIR/STTR grants account for 2.8% of NIDA’s roughly $1 billion annual budget. NIDA spent $26.679 million on SBIR and STTR in fiscal year 2012, which ended September 30—up from $26.497 million in FY 2011. The number of SBIR/STTR research projects grants rose to 56 in FY 2012 from 44 a year earlier, according to the GEN article.

Allele Biotech’s CEO, Jiwu Wang, Ph.D., has worked with Dr. Pollock on a previous, VHH nanobody-related project under the NIDA SBIR program. He has just submitted a SBIR grant application based on Allele’s recently published mRNA-based reprogramming technology, after discussion with Dr. Pollock.

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