Two NCATS teams were recently selected to take part in the seventh round of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Ignite Accelerator. Ignite Accelerator provides selected HHS staff a startup environment to test innovative ideas to improve how their program, office or agency works.
Through Accelerator, small teams receive design and entrepreneurship training along with three months of support to develop and test their ideas with real users. The two selected NCATS projects are designed to tackle challenges across the translational spectrum.
The team of Anne R. Pariser, M.D., deputy director of the NCATS Office of Rare Diseases Research, and Tiina K. Urv, Ph.D., program director in the NCATS Division of Clinical Innovation, have proposed exploring the adaptation of “agile” methods from the software industry to accelerate drug development for rare diseases. These methods enable industry to adapt to change quickly and to continuously improve through iterative and flexible project management practices. Pariser and Urv are exploring whether agile approaches could help identify areas within rare diseases research where efficiencies may be gained and collaborations enhanced to support the development of drugs for rare diseases.
NCATS Division of Clinical Innovation program directors H. Timothy Hsiao, Ph.D., and Olga Brazhnik, Ph.D., plan to help NIH grantees attract private investments and corporate partnerships to more efficiently advance innovative technologies and therapies to market. They proposed to create a collaborative business development program called Advanced Clinical and Translational Innovation Ventures (ACTIV). The program will be powered by an online platform and voluntary NIH awardees who coordinate engagement and matching with investors and corporate partners. ACTIV is expected to be particularly relevant for NIH grantees not working in or near major biotech hubs. Through the Ignite Accelerator, Hsiao and Brazhnik will test and pilot this concept before presenting the evidence to request the NCATS leadership’s approval for deployment.
Posted September 2017