BioCurate’s Proof-of-Concept Fund FAQ
BioCurate’s Proof-of-Concept (PoC) Fund was developed to support projects that require additional experimental validation following BioCurate Opportunity Assessment (BOA) or Expression of Interest (EOI) review, where the identified scientific gaps are a barrier to project progression at BioCurate. This FAQ has been compiled to address common queries from academic scientists about this fund, its eligibility criteria and funding obligations.
Q: Is my project suitable for the PoC fund?
A: Projects in all disease areas will be considered for BioCurate’s PoC Fund. Accepted modalities include small molecule, antibody or other biological, peptides, cell therapy, gene therapy, and drug/device/diagnostic combinations.
Q: At what stage does my project need to be in order to be eligible?
A: BioCurate will look at very early projects. Your project should have a novel target, but you do not need novel “composition of matter” at the time of submission, although there should be clear potential for this. Additionally, your project needs to show some level of human validation of the target (e.g. from TCGA database or similar).
Q: What do I need to do before I apply?
A: Firstly, you need to talk to the tech transfer/business development/commercialisation office at your institution. Then, download, complete and submit the BioCurate Opportunity Assessment Application form.
Q: Is funding competitive?
A: Yes, only a finite number of projects per round can be funded. However, if no project is deemed suitable in a round, then the allocated funds will be rolled over to the next round.
Q: How much funding can I receive?
A: On average, a project selected for the PoC fund is awarded up to $500,000 for a period of 12-18 months to complete the PoC project. Funding will be tranched based on milestone-driven experimental plan with Go/No-Go decision points.
Q: Can the funding be extended to $500k for previous BOA rounds (including March 2023 submissions)?
A: No, the funding increase to up to $500k is only applicable for projects submitted from the BOA round in September 2023.
Q: What can the funding go towards?
A: PoC funding can only go towards project-associated costs. This could include support for a defined period of time for a post-doctoral fellow or research assistant (e.g. 0.4 FTE for 6 months – linked to an outcome in the PoC Experimental Plan).
Q: I want to apply for other funding, e.g. CUREATOR, MRFF, University POC fund, etc. Would I still be eligible for BioCurate POC funding?
A: Yes, BioCurate PoC funding is compatible with other opportunities from different funding bodies. Funding from multiple sources could be managed in a number of ways. For example:
- BioCurate PoC funding could be used to address key experimental gaps that are not currently addressed by funding that has been already secured
- BioCurate can work collaboratively with the funding body and research team to develop a package of experiments that could be co-funded
Q: What are my obligations when I have been awarded PoC funding?
A: There will be update meetings with the BioCurate Project Lead appointed to your project linked to planned “milestones”. Budget and timelines will be tracked, and any delays or overspend will need to be justified.
Q: What happens if my project fails to meet a milestone/Go-NoGo point?
A: If your experiments hit a “NoGo” point, that would either necessitate a change in direction, or bring the POC project to a close. BioCurate would work with you to determine the best way forward.
Q: Will I receive any guidance from BioCurate once PoC funding has concluded?
A: There will be a close-out meeting at the end of the PoC funding period, and BioCurate will provide some advice to you and the Institute’s commercialisation team as to where to go next. There is no obligation on you or the Institution to follow BioCurate’s recommendations.
Q: Are additional PoC funds available at the conclusion of PoC funding?
A: Yes, if applicable. The Project Team and BioCurate will discuss the outcome of the PoC project and determine if additional funding is warranted to address unresolved scientific gaps.
Q: Is my project eligible to enter BioCurate’s portfolio after PoC funding?
A: If the PoC fund has been successful in “filling the gap”, you may be invited to contribute to a Project Investment Proposal. This detailed Development plan and budget proposition would be generated by BioCurate, with input from you and your organisation’s commercialisation team, and submitted to the BioCurate Investment Committee. If approved, the project would then enter BioCurate’s portfolio.
Q: What happens if the project does not meet the required aims of the PoC Experimental Plan? Have I failed?
A: BioCurate will not disclose the results of the PoC project to any third party, unless agreed to by you and your Institution. If your project fails to meet the Go/NoGo point set as a part of the Experimental plan, there may still be another direction in which to take your research. Regardless of the outcome, you are always welcome to submit other projects to future BioCurate PoC rounds.
For further inquiries, contact Andy Allen via firstname.lastname@example.org
This FAQ was last updated on August 1, 2023.