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Innovative Molecular Analysis Technology Development for Cancer Research and Clinical Care

SBIR only: PAR-18-303

Receipt Dates: September 8, 2020; January 5, 2021

Expires on January 8, 2021

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Phase I Budget cap has increased to $400,000. More information available on Guide Notice NOT-CA-19-062.


The Innovative Molecular Analysis Technology Development for Cancer Research and Clinical Care (SBIR-IMAT) solicitation is a companion SBIR funding opportunity announcement to the NCI Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT) Program aimed at the inception, development, integration, and application of novel and emerging technologies in support of cancer research, treatment, diagnosis, and prevention.

While the IMAT Program utilizes the R21/R33 funding mechanisms to accomplish these goals, this funding opportunity utilizes the R43/R44 SBIR funding mechanisms. This companion SBIR funding opportunity announcement provides a mechanism for small businesses to obtain funding for the development of IMAT-like projects with a focus on commercialization. While the IMAT program provides academic institutions with the opportunity for pursuing technology development in basic science, SBIR-IMAT provides small businesses the opportunity to focus on technologies geared towards commercialization and ultimate use by the cancer research community.

Applications should specify milestones relevant to both the development and commercialization of these technologies. In the context of this solicitation, the term “technologies” encompasses novel techniques, materials, instrumentation, and devices that offer significant improvements in terms of novel types of cancer-relevant analyses, and/or greater resolution, specificity, and/or throughput relative to the currently available methods/tools. Highly-innovative platforms for sample preparation and/or processing, and for improved downstream analysis are also within the scope of this FOA.

Companies with an emphasis on molecular analysis technologies to improve cancer prevention, detection and diagnosis, surveillance, epidemiological research, and basic cancer research are encouraged to apply. Applications must demonstrate rationale pointing to the commercial potential of the technology to be developed. Although prior participation in the IMAT Program is not required for this FOA, technologies proposed for this SBIR-IMAT FOA are expected to exhibit a high degree of innovation with transformative potential, or otherwise demonstrate clear advantages over currently available technologies.

Technology areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Technologies capable of deciphering basic mechanisms underlying cancer initiation and progression;
  • Technologies that enable substantially-improved early cancer detection and/or cancer risk assessment;
  • Technologies capable of distinguishing, assessing, and/or monitoring cancer stage, and progression;
  • Technologies to facilitate/accelerate the processes of drug discovery or development of generic approaches to improve drug delivery;
  • Technologies that can facilitate and/or enhance molecular analyses in cancer epidemiology (e.g., by allowing for rigorous and/or expeditious collection of various relevant types of data);
  • Technologies for sample preparation and/or processing for improved downstream analysis;
  • Technologies that offer a novel means for assessing general analyte quality to determine sample fitness-for-purpose for a known analytical platform; and
  • Technologies or tools that may help overcome various barriers in research on the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of cancer among members of underserved populations.

Technologies that are generally not appropriate for this FOA include the following:

  • Projects describing milestones that do not indicate advanced capabilities or offer progress towards commercialization;
  • Projects proposing software/informatics solutions, database development, data mining, statistical tools, and computational/mathematical modeling (including those applicable to drug and/or patient responses);
  • Projects in which the main thrust of effort is on exploring biological or clinical hypotheses (i.e., traditional hypothesis-driven projects) rather than on technology development;
  • Projects proposing whole-body or in vivo imaging methods, or specific contrast agents; and
  • Projects centered on development of specific drugs or therapies.

Download slides from the 2013 SBIR-IMAT pre-application webinar. An audio recording and transcript of the webinar are also available for download.

Direct-to-Phase II is now available for this funding opportunity announcement. For more details, please check guide notice NOT-CA-19-002.


For more information about this funding opportunity, please contact NCI SBIR Program Director Amir Rahbar ( 


Updated Date: 
July 19, 2019