UCLA Innovation Fund

2017 Biomedical Competition

In order to advance therapeutics, medical devices/diagnostics, and digital health technologies across campus, the Technology Development Group (TDG), UCLA Health / David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM), UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering & Applied Science and the College's Divisions of Life Sciences and Physical Sciences are collaborating to present the UCLA Innovation Fund. This opportunity is open to UCLA faculty from all Schools who have signed the UCLA Patent Policy.

The fund has a singular mission: To enable technologies to move quickly from the lab to the market, and bridge the gap between academic research and industry/venture capital interest.

Funding will be used to advance a project along to reach a key project-specific milestone, further enabling these technologies to be licensed to an existing company or a startup. These funds are to support commercialization activities that would not be supported by basic research grants.

There is a three-step application process, which requires a Letter of Intent, Full Application (by invitation only), and a Pitch Presentation.

Important Dates:

  • May 30, 2017 - Letters of Intent (LOI) Due
  • June 19, 2017 - LOI Decisions Announced
  • July 17, 2017 - Therapeutic Track Applications Due (By Invitation Only)
  • Rolling TBD Deadline - Other Track Applications Due (By Invitation Only)

Full Process & Timeline

Date Process
May 30, 2017

Letter of Intent (LOI) Due (all tracks)

June 19, 2017 LOI Decisions Announced (all tracks)
July 17, 2017 Therapeutic Track Applications Due (By Invitation Only)
Rolling TBD Deadlines Medical Devices/Diagnostics, and Digital Health Track Applications Due (By Invitation Only)
4 weeks

Internal Scientific Panel & Business/IP Review

The 4 week timeline will be used as time spent to conduct reviews and write therapeutic decision letters

Finalist Dates:
August 14, 2017
TBD (2017)
TBD (2017)
Finalists Announced:
Therapeutics
Medical Devices/Diagnostics
Digital Health
Pitch Dates:
September (2017)
TBD (2017)
TBD (2017)
Pitch Session to External Boards:
Therapeutics
Medical Devices/Diagnostics
Digital Health
Funding Dates:
TBD (2017)
TBD (2017)
TBD (2017)
Funding Announced:
Therapeutics
Medical Devices/Diagnostics
Digital Health

General Questions & Fund Consultation

For general questions about the process contact:

InnovationFund@tdg.ucla.edu

Consultations are available, if desired, with representatives from the respective fund tracks. These sessions are meant to review ideas, processes or patent consultation.

Available beginning May 1, 2017 through submission process

Consulting - Division of Life Sciences:
Utpal Banerjee, PhD
banerjee@mbi.ucla.edu

Consulting - David Geffen School of Medicine:
Judy Gasson, PhD
JGasson@mednet.ucla.edu

Consulting - UCLA Health / DGSOM:
Desert Horse-Grant
dhorsegrant@mednet.ucla.edu

Consulting - Technology Development Group:
Tom Lipkin, PhD
thomas.lipkin@tdg.ucla.edu

Consulting - School of Engineering:
Harold Monbouquette, PhD
harold@seas.ucla.edu

Consulting - Division of Physical Sciences:
Brooke Sanders
bsanders@support.ucla.edu

Fund Overview

Technological Tracks

Technologies will be separated into three tracks: therapeutics, medical devices/diagnostics, and digital health. Full applications will be reviewed by both an academic panel to evaluate scientific merit and a business review panel to assess commercial potential. Applications with high scores for both scientific and business merit will advance to a pitch presentation where an external advisory committee comprised of industry executives, investors, and serial entrepreneurs will be assembled for each track. Inventors will pitch, and the committee will identify fundable projects, articulate key experiments to conduct, and lend additional scientific and business insight. The leadership of TDG, UCLA Health/DGSOM, the School of Engineering, the Division of Life Sciences, and the Division of Physical Sciences will then work collaboratively but with some independence to make final funding decisions; successful projects may be funded by TDG, UCLA Health / DGSOM, Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (HSSEAS), Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences. 

Project Management

In addition to funding, most or all selected projects will be assigned a Project Manager (PM). Aided by the inventors, each PM will be required to create a milestone-driven project plan, timeline, and budget. Funding is contingent on meeting these predetermined milestones, and PMs will determine how funds are spent.

Budgetary Concerns

Applications are open to Principal Investigators (PIs) across campus, regardless of the schools involved. We expect many collaborative projects between research groups on campus. Proposal budgets are required to be as fiscally conservative as possible, and are dependent on meeting project-specific milestones.

Funding may range from $50,000 - $200,000 per project depending on need.

Funds may be used for both internal project development and for outside vendors/consultants/contractors. Please note this is not a typical award. Therefore, money will be released based on following the work plan, meeting milestones, and achieving results. If a project fails to meet a certain milestone, the reminder of funding may be withdrawn.

General Eligibility:
  • The lead PI must be a UCLA faculty member in the Regular Professor, In-Residence Professor, Clinical X Professor, or Health Sciences Clinical Professor series in the DGSOM, HSSEAS, Life Sciences, etc. Applications from highly independent and accomplished faculty in the Adjunct Professor and Researcher series may also be considered.
  • The lead Principal Investigator (PI) on each application must hold a primary appointment on the UCLA campus, in that their extramural grant applications must typically be submitted through the UCLA Office of Contract and Grant Administration.
  • Project teams may include non-faculty positions (i.e., graduate students, postdocs, or staff) that sign the UC Patent Policy.
  • The underlying IP should vest with UCLA (the Regents) only. All members of the team need to have signed the UC Patent Acknowledgement

Please Note:

The PI must be present for the pitch presentation. It will be a 15 minute pitch followed by 15 minutes of questions. A Tech Fellow from TDG will be matched with PIs to assist with their pitches. Practice session(s) are required with a representative of TDG and a representative of either the Health System/DGSOM, the School of Engineering, the Division of Life Sciences, or the Division of Physical Sciences.

 

General Evaluation Criteria:

General evaluation criteria for all LOIs and full applications:

  • Novelty, significance, and potential impact of the project on a commercial application.
  • Significant market need and opportunity.
  • Competitive advantage over technologies that are currently available or in development.
  • Qualifications of the Principal Investigator, Co-PIs, and Co-Investigators.
  • Ongoing activity in the lab on the proposed project.
  • Strengths of the preliminary data (if any) and research plan.
  • Potential to lead to the commercialization of the technology through a license to an outside company.
  • Status of the intellectual property.

Please note:

  • Applications that are primarily for equipment purchases are not suitable for this funding mechanism.
  • Applications should not propose experiments or work that has already been funded though other grant or funding mechanisms.
  • Applications should not propose experiments for which it would be reasonable to obtain grant support from the NIH or other funding agencies.

In addition to specified milestone reports, the PI and the Project Manager (if applicable) of each funded award must submit a six-month progress report and final annual report. The reports will include:

  • Scientific report – status of research and progress to date
  • List of publications made possible by the award
  • List of patents
  • List of external funding applied to/received as a result of the award
  • Financial report
  • Progress towards milestone

The Letter of Intent document should include the following three items assembled into a single PDF:

  • A two-page Letter of Intent consisting of:
    • A project title
    • The names and academic titles of the PI, co-PI, and co-investigators (Please designate lead PI).
    • Executive summary (~ 200 words)
    • Category of innovation (therapeutic, diagnostic/medical device, or digital health)
    • Brief summary of the technology. What has been achieved so far?
    • A brief summary of the unmet biomedical need and potential commercial application. How does the proposed technology compare to currently available technologies or those in development?
    • A list of the specific aims including the reasoning, time to completion, and the metrics for determining whether the aim was achieved.
    • Proposed budget ($50,000- $200,000) and how funds will be utilized.
    • Current status of the intellectual property. Has the technology been disclosed? Are there patent applications? Is the IP solely owned by UCLA?
    • Funding used for the proposed project thus far
  • NIH-style Biosketches for the PI and co-PIs (not for co-investigators)
  • NIH-style Other Support pages for the PI and co-PIs.

Please assemble the LOI, Biosketches, Other Support pages, and Submitted Applications documents into a single PDF, which can be uploaded by clicking the 'Submit Your Application' button below.

Letter of Intent (LOI) submissions for all tracks are due by no later than May 30, 2017.

SUBMIT YOUR LOI

 

Full applications will be invited from a select group of faculty who have submitted LOIs.

Instructions for full applications are as follows:

  • All components of the application should be assembled into a single PDF file and composed in Arial 11 font with 0.5 inch page margins. Assemble the documents in the following order:
    • Application
    • Budget page
    • Budget justification
  • The application (no longer than 5 pages) should include:
    • Cover page:
      • Project title
      • Names and academic titles of PI, co-PIs, and co-Investigators (Please designate lead PI).
      • Executive summary (~ 200 words)
    • Technology and Commercial Potential:
      • Summary of the technology. What has been achieved so far?
      • Preliminary Results: Include key non-confidential data to support the technology.
      • A summary of the unmet biomedical need and potential commercial application.
      • What is the market size? Are there additional markets this asset would be applicable to?
      • How does the proposed technology compare to currently available technologies or those in development? This should be a detailed description of standard of care and the key differences between the proposed technology and other available technologies.
      • A list of the specific aims including the reasoning, time to completion and the metrics for determining whether the aim was achieved.
      • Current status of the intellectual property. Has the technology been disclosed? Are there patent applications? Is the IP solely owned by UCLA?
    • Budget:
      • Proposed budget ($50,000 to $200,000) and how funds will be utilized. Please clearly articulate whether these funds will be spent in the university or at outside contractors (e.g. CROs, software developers, prototype manufacturers, etc.)
      • Key milestones that will be achieved with the funds. How will these milestones de-risk the technology?
      • Funding used for the proposed project thus far.
    • Commercialization:
      • Proposed commercialization plan. Are there companies that have expressed interest in this technology? Are you planning on forming a startup?
      • A Project Manager may be utilized to manage the project. These are outside industry experts that we may identify. Do you have somebody you would already like to work with? (Not required)
    • Supporting Information:
      • Key references
      • Any support from industry or investors that has already been received
      • Supporting publications
  • Brief budget justification narrative (one paragraph)
  • ARC and IRB approvals do not need to be included with the application, but must be provided prior to funding; failure to provide approvals soon after grants are approved for funding may jeopardize funding.

Applications are by invitation only. Notices will be sent to the selected individuals, to submit no later than July 17, 2017 for the Therapeutic Track. All other track deadlines will be announced on a rolling schedule.