First Flight’s Health Security Accelerator

About the First Flight BARDA DRIVe Health Security Accelerator

In 2018, First Flight Venture Center became one of eight accelerators in the country selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) tasked with finding solutions to protect Americans from 21st-century health security threats, including sepsis and early notification of infectious diseases.

This new initiative called DRIVe (Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures) is part of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). DRIVe’s mission is transforming Health Security by accelerating the research, development, and availability of transformative countermeasures to protect Americans from natural and intentional health security threats.

Read the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s report on the BARDA DRIVe Portfolio Companies (companies from around the world that have been funded).

Get more information on the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Should you be applying for DRIVe funding?

Current DRIVe impact areas include (1) Solving Sepsis and (2) Early Notification to Act, Control, and Treat (ENACT) infectious diseases. The link for any of the BARDA Industry Day presentations posted thus far can be found here, and the specific DRIVe Area of Interest presentations are:

DRIVe is leveraging an innovative funding tool, the Easy Broad Agency Announcement (EZ-BAA), to accelerate innovations and improve availability of transformative products and technologies. The EZ-BAA has a streamlined application, selection and award process. Before submitting your application, you should request and have an Area of Interest call with the DRIVe Team. (Contact Emil Runge at [email protected] on how to do this.)

Apply: Click here to apply for the EZ-BAA funding opportunity of up to $749,000. Please note that DRIVe expects a proposed 30% cost share in your application (see Cost Sharing – Key Takeaways below). Also, the first five award amounts have a large range (approx. $62k, $200k, $550k, and two at $749k) so do not assume they are only funding at $749k.

Additional DRIVe sites:

DRIVe Resources

June 22, 2018 Pre-Proposal Conference Slides

DRIVe Awardees (under Gallery)

Proposal Resources

Project Description Approach Suggestions

You have 12,500 characters (roughly 2,000-2,500 words). It needs to be concise. Also remember this is likely going to be a contract, not a grant. Do not use the same approach as an SBIR/STTR application.

One approach is to consider answering the types of questions below:

  • What is your value proposition?
  • What is your approach?
  • What solutions are you trying to solve?
  • How are you different than the current state of the art solution?
  • Why does your technology matter?
  • What are the clear paths/deliverables for a disruptive solution?
  • What are your measurables milestones?
  • Essentially this is a short white paper. Or, think of it as your 5-minute pitch.

Alternatively, you might consider using DARPA’s “Heilmeier Catechism” as an approach, which expects you to answer the following questions:

  • What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
  • How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
  • What is new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
  • Who cares? If you are successful, what difference will it make?
  • What are the risks?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What are the mid-term and final “exams” to check for success?


Cost Sharing – Key Takeaways (from DRIVe Contracting)

1) Cash or In-Kind cost sharing are both acceptable.

2) Examples of In-Kind cost-sharing:

–       Fringe Benefits

–       Overhead

–       Travel

–       G&A

–       F&A (applies to universities)

–       Direct Labor (pro-bono hours)

–       Consultants (pro-bono hours)

–       Equipment & Materials

–       Subcontractors

Note:  These cost elements may be partially shared, fully shared, or a combination of both.  A cost share does not have to apply to just 1 cost element.

3) The proposed cost-share may be funded, or provided, by a third party.

-This includes federal funding; however the funding may only be applied to the proposed work/project.

4) Any resulting contract will state the Total Project Value (Government share vs. Offeror share).  How the Offeror funds, or provides, its share is strictly on the onus of the Offeror.  The Government is concerned with the work being completed and the deliverables being received in a timely, successful manner.

Note from First Flight: Cost Share in a support letter can be contingent upon a DRIVe award.

First Flight’s role as a BARDA DRIVe Health Security Accelerator

First Flight is working with companies, universities and other important members of the North Carolina health security ecosystem to drive innovation in lifesaving medical technologies to solve challenging problems spanning modern health security threats and daily medical care. First Flight is collaborating with DRIVe as it takes a new approach to tackle the biggest national health security threats—developing innovative technologies and practices for transformative solutions.

Essentially, First Flight will be working to help connect the Health Security Ecosystem and to help identify the most innovative solutions for BARDA. BARDA is looking to fund projects – both through traditional funding like grants and through a nonprofit venture capital innovation partner that joins with other venture capitalists in funding development of the solution. First Flight’s goals are complimentary: to help organizations better position themselves to go after DRIVe funding and to improve the fundable pipeline for DRIVe.

To learn more

Please contact Emil Runge at [email protected] if you are interested in learning more about First Flight’s DRIVe Health Security Accelerator.

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