Solicitations - ACME-POCT

ACME POCT 2021 Call for Pilot Proposals: Microfluidics/Lab-on-a-Chip Point-of-Care Technologies


The Atlanta Center for Microsystems-Engineered Point-of-Care (POC) Technologies (ACME POCT) funds pilot projects related to development, refinement, testing, and/or commercialization of microsystems-based POC diagnostic technologies. These technologies are defined as technologies that are enabled by microscale devices with characteristic feature sizes of <1 mm and may be comprised of microelectromechanical systems-based sensors, biosensors, microfluidic components, or even smartphone-based systems, and the data analysis thereof.

Our priority for the 2021 call for applications is to fund clinically relevant microfluidics-based proposals for devices that have already been through some level of investment in research, development, evaluation, or clinical validation but have been unable to progress due to a significant and definable barrier that can be resolved through additional funds and/or targeted expertise in engineering, regulatory, or other type of specific expert contribution. As such, applicants should be able to define the technology’s current technology readiness level (TRL), describe the situation and barrier encountered that impeded progress, and explain how additional funds and/or targeted expertise from the ACME POCT or other consultants will allow the technology to move forward in the development pathway.

The 2021 call for proposals prioritizes projects that meet all of the following specific criteria:

  1. Proposed technologies that involve microfluidics/lab-on-a-chip technology geared towards point-of-care use. Microfluidics/Lab-on-a-Chip Technologies are defined here as involving the use of sub-micrometer scale fluidic channels to enable speed, portability, less reagent usage, simpler workflow, and/or faster biochemical/biological reactions on a microscale device.
  2. Projects that are highly innovative, defined as involving a novel technology, novel application, or novel dissemination technique to solve a difficult and currently unaddressed clinical problem.
  3. Projects should be high impact, defined by the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the targeted clinical field of use and be commercially viable.
  4. Projects that have already received prior funding or investment of any amount and from any source in the past 5 years

Examples of barriers that might be described include but are not limited to:

  • Issues with prototyping due to design, engineering, materials, and/or fabrication challenges
  • Issues with device validation due to unacceptable sensitivity and specificity measurements
  • Lack of suitable test methods to gauge product performance in vitro, in vivo or other pre-clinical measures.
  • Insufficient demonstration of performance reproducibility
  • Regulatory barriers or issues (e.g. lack of regulatory expertise within team) 
  • Problems with clinical adoption or selection of clinical use case(s)
  • Issues with supply chain or manufacturing
  • Issues with commercialization strategy, commercial market, and/or payment/reimbursement

In addition to showing evidence of meeting all the above five criteria applications that meet the priorities of our 2021 call for proposals should also:

  • Specifically indicate how the appropriate decision makers and stakeholders will be receptive to the proposed solution
  • Describe the team members and their relevant and appropriate scientific, engineering, clinical, and/or commercialization expertise
  • Specify the amount invested in the technology, names of funding sources, and funding receipt dates
  • Include the name/contact information for a representative from the latest funder/funding agency that can speak to the outcome of the investment
  • Clearly articulate the gap/barrier that has halted progress and the team’s prediction of what milestones can be met through the ACME POCT’s investment in expertise and/or funds

Finally, note that highly innovative and/or commercially competitive microsystems-based POC technologies that do not directly fulfill these criteria (e.g. micro/nanosystems- or microchip-based POC technologies that are not technically microfluidic-based or microfluidic technologies that have not encountered issues mentioned above) will still be considered.

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