NCATS Programs & Initiatives

Discover the innovative work of NCATS-supported programs and initiatives.

3-D Tissue Bioprinting Program

NCATS experts are applying the techniques of 3-D printing to developing tissue models that mimic the 3-D structure and organization of cells in the tissues of living organisms. 

A Specialized Platform for Innovative Research Exploration (ASPIRE)

By addressing long-standing challenges in the field of chemistry, including lack of standardization, low reproducibility and an inability to predict how new chemicals will behave, ASPIRE is designed to bring novel, safe and effective treatments to more patients more quickly at lower cost.

Antiviral Program for Pandemics (APP)

The APP is a multi-agency initiative to develop safe and effective oral antivirals for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses with pandemic potential. As part of the APP, NCATS will apply its expertise and cutting-edge technologies to fill critical needs and work with collaborators to advance drug discovery and development programs for oral antiviral candidates.

Assay Development and Screening Technology (ADST)

ADST is designed to advance therapeutic development through research and development of innovative assay (test) designs and chemical library screening methods.

Assay Guidance Manual

The Assay Guidance Manual program provides best-practices resources and training devoted to the successful development of robust, early-stage drug discovery assays.

Bespoke Gene Therapy Consortium (BGTC)

Part of the Accelerating Medicines Partnership® (AMP®) program, the Bespoke Gene Therapy Consortium (BGTC) is establishing platforms and standards to speed the development and delivery of customized or “bespoke” gene therapies that could treat millions of people affected by rare diseases.

Biomedical Data Translator

NCATS launched the Biomedical Data Translator (Translator) program to accelerate biomedical translation for the research community. Through this program, NCATS will integrate multiple types of existing data sources and reveal potential relationships across the spectrum of data types.

Bridging Interventional Development Gaps (BrIDGs)

The BrIDGs program assists researchers in advancing promising therapeutic agents through late-stage preclinical development toward an Investigational New Drug application and clinical testing.

Chemistry Technology

Chemistry technology experts at NCATS develop small molecules and screening approaches that other scientists can use to pursue innovations in therapeutic development.

Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program

The CTSA Program addresses the development and implementation of national standards and best practices for translation, from basic discovery to clinical and community-engaged research.

Clinical Trial Readiness for Rare Diseases, Disorders and Syndromes (CTR) Grants Program

The CTR grants program supports projects focused on collecting the data needed to move promising rare disease therapies and diagnostics to clinical trial.

Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules (New Therapeutic Uses)

The New Therapeutic Uses program aims to improve the process of developing new treatments and cures for disease by finding new uses for assets that already have cleared several key steps along the development path (also known as drug repurposing).

Early Translation Branch (ETB)

ETB researchers advance small molecule therapeutic development through assay (test) design, high-throughput screening and medicinal chemistry.

Functional Genomics Lab

NCATS’ Functional Genomics Lab is designed to develop and improve RNAi screening approaches to better understand gene function and identify treatment targets. Gene silencing through RNAi has emerged as a powerful tool for understanding gene function. Over the past several years, high-throughput RNAi screens have illuminated a wide variety of biological processes, ranging from genes that affect the activity of therapeutic agents to novel components of signaling pathways.

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

GARD provides up-to-date health information about numerous rare and genetic diseases.

The Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®

NCATS is one of several NIH Institutes and Centers participating in the NIH HEAL Initiative. With Initiative support, NCATS will accelerate the process of developing new treatments for opioid misuse and addiction and for pain. 

Informatics Research and Scientific Applications

Informatics at NCATS plays a key role in organizing, processing, analyzing and interpreting the large quantity and variety of data generated by translational research.

Matrix Combination Screening

NCATS experts use a technology called matrix combination screening to quickly narrow down a long list of potential drug combinations and find those with the most potential to help patients.

Multidisciplinary Machine-Assisted, Genomic Analysis and Clinical Approaches to Shortening the Rare Diseases Diagnostic Odyssey

NCATS supports research on innovative approaches to reducing the timeline for accurately diagnosing rare diseases.

National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C)

The N3C is a partnership among the NCATS-supported Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program hubs and the National Center for Data to Health (CD2H), with overall stewardship by NCATS. It aims to create a national resource of COVID-19 clinical data that the research community can use to answer critical research questions as the pandemic continues to evolve.

NCATS Toolkit for Patient-Focused Therapy Development

The NCATS Toolkit for Patient-Focused Therapy Development is a centralized collection of online resources that can help patient groups advance through the research and development process for new treatments.

NIH Common Fund Programs

NIH Common Fund programs can provide a strategic and nimble approach to address key roadblocks in biomedical research that impede basic scientific discovery and its translation into improved human health. All NIH Institutes and Centers are involved with the NIH Office of Strategic Coordination in the design, implementation and evaluation of Common Fund programs.

OpenData Portal

The OpenData Portal is a resource created by NCATS to openly and quickly share COVID-19-related drug repurposing data and experiments for all approved drugs.

Pfizer's Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI)

The CTI program ran from 2014 to 2019 to help bridge the gap between early scientific discovery and its translation into new medicines through public-private resource sharing.

Platform Vector Gene Therapy (PaVe-GT)

This NCATS-led pilot project will test whether it is possible to increase the efficiency of gene therapy clinical trial startup by using the same gene delivery system and manufacturing methods for multiple gene therapies.

Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN)

The RDCRN program is designed to advance medical research on rare diseases by providing support for clinical studies and facilitating collaboration, study enrollment and data sharing. Through the RDCRN consortia, physician scientists and their multidisciplinary teams work together with patient advocacy groups to study more than 200 rare diseases at sites across the nation.

Rare Diseases Registry Program (RaDaR)

RaDaR, formerly known as the Global Rare Diseases Registry Data Repository program, aims to define best practices for patient registries. RaDaR also strives to identify and adopt standards to support high-quality registries for rare diseases therapeutics development.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

These programs support NCATS’ mission to transform the translational science process by helping small businesses develop and commercialize new technologies.

Stem Cell Translation Laboratory (SCTL)

NCATS is working to advance translational methods in stem cell research. Induced pluripotent stem cells are particularly useful because scientists can transform them into many different cell types to use for research or therapies.

Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases (TRND)

The TRND program supports preclinical development of therapeutic candidates intended to treat rare or neglected disorders, with the goal of enabling an Investigational New Drug application.

Tissue Chip for Drug Screening

The Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program aims to develop bioengineered devices to improve the process of predicting whether drugs will be safe or toxic in humans.

Toxicology in the 21st Century (Tox21)

The Tox21 program is designed to improve toxicity testing methods and enable faster, more efficient evaluation of chemicals’ effects on human health.

Translational Approach to COVID-19

NCATS is supporting research activities spanning the translational science spectrum to address the novel coronavirus 2019 (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease it causes (COVID-19).