The annual grant from the University of Missouri Coulter Biomedical Accelerator Program sponsors collaborative translational research projects that will lead to improvements in patient care. The MU Coulter Biomedical Accelerator Program began in 2012 as a five year/$5 million partnership between MU and the Wallace H Coulter Foundation. In 2017, multiple MU units, including the School of Medicine and the College of Engineering made investments totaling $4 million to extend the Coulter Accelerator Program for another five years. The Coulter Accelerator Program is expected to pay back part of these investments and to become self-sustainable with revenues generated from technologies the program helps commercialize.
All projects must include an engineer and a clinician who serve as Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs). All Co-PIs must be from the MU (Columbia) campus. Collaborators from other UM System campuses and from other universities may participate, however, award funding may not be used for research on other campuses. The engineer Co-PI must have a primary or joint appointment in the College of Engineering. The clinical Co-PI must have a primary or joint appointment in the School of Medicine and have job responsibilities that include direct contact with patients or patient data. Projects may include more than one engineering Co-PI and more than one clinical Co-PI as well as collaborators from the School of Nursing, College of Veterinary Medicine or allied health professionals. Exceptions to these criteria will be considered on a case by case basis. A Co-PI may submit more than one LOI/proposal, however, it is rare for the same project team to receive funding for multiple projects in one funding cycle.
To receive Coulter funding, the Co-PIs' departments will agree to share 50% of any future royalties the departments may receive from technology licenses resulting from the Coulter Accelerator Program support. These funds will flow back to the Coulter Accelerator Program, providing a return on investment for the units that have provided the upfront investments in the Program.
Full Bridge Grant vs. Seed Grant Requests
The MU Coulter Accelerator Program supports two different kinds of project funding: full and seed. Full proposals are for projects that require ~$100K to complete an experiment that validates the technology or kills the project - i.e., the killer experiment. Full proposal awards fund projects for up to one year. Full projects should be 12-24 months from a commercial event like a license to an established company or funding sufficient to continue translation of the technology. Seed proposals are for projects that are earlier in nature and/or require $25K or less to complete major milestones. MU Coulter Seed Grant proposals are accepted all year around, however, funding may be contingent upon successful completion of Coulter Boot Camp. Call for LOIs for the 2020 Coulter Bridge Grants went out in November 2019, and the deadline for application is January 6, 2020.
The research must have a direct application to an important unmet clinical need and the proposed solution, when commercialized, must have a benefit to patients and community health. Proposals are evaluated on the basis of scientific and clinical merit, potential health care impact and significance, experience of the investigators, timeline and pathway to commercialization as well as the likelihood of obtaining the additional funding required to fully translate the proposed solution.
Proposal Submission Guidelines
The proposal submission process requires submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI). LOIs are taken through a filtering process that includes a review by the MU Coulter Executive Committee. Teams submitting LOIs that make it through the filtering process are invited to attend the annual Coulter Boot Camp that is now offered in conjunction with the MANGMT 8200: Commercialization of Life Science Innovations course. Teams that complete Boot Camp and submit a viable business proposal are given the opportunity to make the Pitch #1 to the OC for funding of the project. The OC makes the final decision on which projects are selected for funding. The start date for funded projects is July 1.
LOI Submission Guidelines
All investigators considering submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI) for a seed or full bridge award must meet with the Coulter Accelerator Program Office before submitting an LOI. Please contact Jaya Ghosh (email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 573-882-0522) to schedule a meeting. If you have questions about eligibility or if you need to connect with an engineer or clinician, contact the Program Office for assistance. The call for proposals for the 2018 funding cycle went out in September 2017. The call for proposals for the 2019 funding cycle will go out in September 2018.
Coulter Boot Camp, now offered in conjunction with MANGMT 8200: Commercialization of Life Science Innovations
Date: Spring 2020
Time: Each session runs for ~2.5 hours including ~15 min breaks
Location: MU School of Medicine
Attendance: To be considered for Coulter funding during this cycle, it is mandatory for at least one Coulter Bridge Grant Applicant PI or Team Representative to attend all sessions of the Coulter Boot Camp
The primary objective of the Coulter Boot Camp is to help Applicants answer two fundamental questions: 1) Does their envisioned product address a true unmet clinical need? AND 2) Is there a viable business opportunity? The second objective is to help applications develop a pitch deck that best positions their idea for investment and partnerships. MANGMT 8200: Commercialization of Life Science Innovations students work hand-in-hand with these Applicant Teams to help them develop commercialization plans for their innovative technologies.
Instructors and Business Advisors guide the Applicant Teams in weekly interactive sessions to identify stakeholders, define their value proposition and get-to-market strategy, develop their business model canvas, and more. Invited speakers teach the basic principles of biomedical innovation and subject matter experts provide guidance on regulatory and reimbursement strategy, intellectual property and entrepreneurship. The Boot Camp and MANGMT 8200 use the Biodesign Handbook, 1st Edition as a guide.
Business Proposal Submission
The business Proposal must provide the following information:
- Clinical Context: Does a true unmet clinical need exist?
- Value Proposition: How is your product different from the gold standard and other approaches available on the market?
- Regulatory and Intellectual Property Considerations
- Business Opportunity: Is there sufficient economic incentive to commercialize the envisioned product?
Pitch Day #1 is the team’s opportunity to sell their business case to the Oversight Committee! Project teams will have 10 minutes to present followed by 10 minutes of Q&A.
Research Proposal Submission
The Research Proposal must provide the following information:
- Describe the objectives, rationale, and plan for your Killer Experiment
- What are the activities you will need to perform in order to execute your Killer Experiment? Describe the specific measures and quantitative targets you will use to evaluate performance, progress, and ultimate success
Pitch Day #2 is the team’s opportunity to sell their project to the Oversight Committee and get it funded! Project teams will have 10 minutes to present followed by 10 minutes of Q&A.
The Coulter Accelerator Program Office meets with the Co-PIs of projects selected for funding to discuss the terms and conditions of funding. Prior to release of any award funds:
- All Co-PIs must sign the Coulter Accelerator Award Terms and Conditions Agreement and
- The Chair of each Co-PI's home department must sign a commitment to contribute back to the MU Coulter Accelerator Program 50% of any future royalties the department may receive from technology licenses resulting from Coulter Accelerator Program support of the project.
Coulter Bridge Grants are awarded for a 12-month period and are renewable. Renewal applications must include a comparison of milestones achieved versus milestones planned in the original submission. Any significant deviations from the original milestone goals must be fully explained. Renewal applications are evaluated on a competitive basis with new applications.