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, by definition, 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 2022 call for applications is to fund clinically relevant microfluidics- and/or microsensor-based proposals for technologies 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 engineering, regulatory, clinical or other type of specific expertise the project team lacked. 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 enable the technology to move forward in the development pathway.
The 2022 call for proposals prioritizes projects that ideally meet the following six specific criteria. Projects that meet a subset of these criteria will also be considered.
Proposed technologies should involve a microfluidics/microsensor/lab-on-a-chip technology geared towards point-of-care use. Microfluidics/lab-on-a-chip technologies are defined here as involving sub-millimeter scale fluidic channels to enable speed, portability, less reagent usage, simpler workflows, and/or faster biochemical/biological reactions on a microscale device. Microsensor/microchip POC technologies are defined here as having microfabricated sensing modalities with electrical output signals for enhanced sensitivity or multiplexing capabilities.
Projects should be highly innovative, defined as involving a novel technology, novel application, or novel dissemination technique to solve a difficult and currently unaddressed clinical problem.
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.
Projects have already received prior funding or investment of any amount and from any source in the past 5 years.
Projects are currently at a point in which they are paused due to a definable issue/barrier and require additional expertise and/or funds to continue along the TRL Development pathway.
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
Lack of access to appropriate microfabrication facilities and associated staff expertise
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
Lack of patient samples to clinically validate the technology
Insufficient demonstration of performance reproducibility
Regulatory barriers or issues (e.g. lack of regulatory expertise within team)
Problems with clinical adoption or selection of appropriate clinical use case(s)
Issues with supply chain or manufacturing
Issues with commercialization strategy, commercial market, and/or payment/reimbursement
A hypothesis that clearly defines that issue/barrier and articulates how it can be addressed with additional seed funding from the ACME POCT.
In addition to showing evidence of meeting all/some of the priorities of our 2022 call, proposals should also:
Highlight the clinical need to be addressed by the proposed technology.
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 of funding previously 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 definition of specific milestones that can be met to address that gap/barrier through the ACME POCT’s investment in expertise and/or funds
If funded, project teams are expected to meet with the intake, technology, clinical, regulatory cores of the ACME POCT on a regular basis to ensure completion of milestones.
Finally, note that extraordinarily innovative and/or commercially competitive microsystems-based POC technologies that do not directly fulfill these criteria will still be considered.
Expressions of Interest are due no later than 4:59pm EST on Monday, March 14, 2022
The deadline for applications has passed