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DARPA Announces $110M Funding Opportunity

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, better known as DARPA, announced a new $110 million project. The objective: to engineer biology to provide new materials, capabilities, and manufacturing paradigms for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Nation.

The $110 million program, titled ““Living Foundries: 1000 Molecules,” will generate 1000 novel molecules and chemical building blocks, thus enabling access to radical new materials. The first due date is September 17, 2013.

DARPA’s Living Foundries: 1000 Molecules program seeks to build a scalable, integrated, rapid design and prototyping infrastructure for the facile engineering of biology. This infrastructure will enable transformative and currently inaccessible projects to develop advanced chemicals, materials, sensing capabilities, and therapeutics. Furthermore, the infrastructure will provide a flexible, efficient, and continuously improving capability to Department of Defense (DoD) and the engineering biology community. A final proof-of-principle demonstration of capabilities will require rapid design and prototyping centers to generate 1000 novel molecules and chemical building blocks, thus enabling access to radical new materials.

The funding will be spread over mulitple areas. A complete description can be found through the follow link: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=b756b30c85f1cac1f670609dcc33ea6c&tab=core&_cview=0

BIO’s Industrial and Environment Section provided further details to BayBio.

Examples for these novel molecules are grouped in three challenge areas:

  1. Rapid, improved prototyping of known molecules. These are molecules for which a known biosynthetic pathway exists. This includes, but is not limited to, molecules that have been previously synthesized biologically, as well as natural products that are currently derived through extraction and purification. Facilities should demonstrate improved production (e.g., yield, cost, purity, etc.) relative to state-of-the-art production methods by using a biosynthetic route;
  2. Prototyping of known, but currently inaccessible, molecules. These are molecules that are not routinely synthesized biologically, but for which a biosynthetic pathway can be constructed. These include, but are not limited to, synthetic pathways constructed from multiple, unique organisms. Of particular interest to DARPA are molecules that are currently very difficult, impossible, or prohibitively expensive to synthesize chemically; and
  3. Prototyping of novel molecules. These are molecules that are effectively unattainable through synthetic chemistry and cannot be synthesized using existing biological chemistry. Potential examples include creating novel enzymes to enable currently inaccessible pathway reactions that yield new chemicals or specific, incorporation of novel elements from the periodic table, or high-efficiency incorporation of non-natural amino acids into products.

Proposal Due Date for Task Area 1 and Advanced Studies: 17 September 2013

Proposers’ Day: 24 July 2013 (See Special Notice #DARPA-SN-13-38); Download here.

BAA Process and Proposal Preparation/Submission Overview Webinar: 31 July 2013.
The purpose of the webinar is to provide additional details regarding the BAA process and to reiterate the proposal preparation and submission instructions/requirements. See Proposers’ Day Registration Website, https://safe.sysplan.com/confsys/1000m/,  for additional information.)

Federal Agency Name – Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA),

Microsystems Technology Office (MTO)

Funding Opportunity Title – Living Foundries: 1000 Molecules
Announcement Type – Initial Announcement
Funding Opportunity Number – DARPA-BAA-13-37
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) – 12.910 Research and Technology Development
Dates
o Posting Date: 12 July 2013
o Proposal Due Date for Task Area 1 and Advanced Studies: 17 September 2013
o Proposers’ Day: 24 July 2013 (See Special Notice #DARPA-SN-13-38)
o BAA Process and Proposal Preparation/Submission Overview Webinar:
31 July 2013. The purpose of the webinar is to provide additional details regarding the BAA process and to reiterate the proposal preparation and submission instructions/requirements. See Proposers’ Day Registration Website,https://safe.sysplan.com/confsys/1000m/, for additional information.)
o Estimated Period of Performance Start Date for Task Area 1 and Advanced Studies: 17 March 2014
o BAA Closing Date: 21 October 2014
Concise description of the funding opportunity – DARPA’s Living Foundries: 1000 Molecules program seeks to build a scalable, integrated, rapid design and prototyping infrastructure for the facile engineering of biology. This infrastructure will enable transformative and currently inaccessible projects to develop advanced chemicals, materials, sensing capabilities, and therapeutics. Furthermore, the infrastructure will provide a flexible, efficient, and continuously improving capability to Department of Defense (DoD) and the engineering biology community. A final proof-of-principle demonstration of capabilities will require rapid design and prototyping centers to generate 1000 novel molecules and chemical building blocks, thus enabling access to radical new materials.
Anticipated individual awards – Multiple awards are anticipated.
Total amount of money to be awarded – It is anticipated that total funding of approximately $110M will be awarded across Task Areas 1 and 2 and Advanced Studies discussed in this BAA. The actual amount of resources available under this BAA will depend on the quality of proposals received and availability of funds.
Anticipated funding type – 6.1 (Advanced Studies and Comprehensive Proposals) and 6.2 (Comprehensive Proposals)
Types of instruments that may be awarded – Procurement contract or other transaction.
Any cost sharing requirements – None.