NIH Offers Assistance to Phase II HHS SBIR and STTR Awardees through the NIH Commercialization Accelerator Program 2017-2018


The purpose of this Notice is to announce the availability of the Commercialization Accelerator Program (CAP) (previously known as the Commercialization Assistance Program) for HHS SBIR and STTR Phase II awardees. For more than 12 years now, this program is designed to help HHS SBIR-STTR Phase II awardees transition their SBIR-STTR-developed products into the marketplace. Through a contract with Larta Inc. of Los Angeles, California, the CAP will provide early stage companies with individualized assistance toward accomplishing their commercialization goals.

The 2017 CAP will begin in October 2017 and will conclude at the end of June 2018.
The Commercialization Accelerator Program is appropriate for the majority of NIH SBIR and STTR Phase II companies. Specifically, eligible companies include those with an NIH SBIR-STTR Phase II project (grant, contract, or cooperative agreement) that is or was active in the past five fiscal years, including Phase IIB competing renewal awards and those in the second phase of the Fast-Track program. SBIR Phase II awardees from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can also apply. Participants must, however, meet the SBIR-STTR small business eligibility criteria as described in the current SBIR and STTR Parent Funding Opportunity Announcement available from the NIH Small Business Funding Opportunities website  Those small businesses that may have previously participated in the program no more than two (2) times may participate again providing they have a different qualifying Phase II award. Companies may be accepted in the program no more than three (3) times.  However, companies that are first time applicants to the CAP will be given priority.  Projects under Phase II awards that ended before August 2012 are NOT eligible.

The NIH CAP is a 9-month program that is well-regarded for its combination of deep domain expertise and access to industry connections, which have resulted in measurable gains and accomplishments by participating companies. Offered since 2004 to address the commercialization objectives of companies across the spectrum of experience and stage, 900+ companies have participated in the CAP. It is open only to HHS/NIH SBIR/STTR Phase II awardees, and 80 slots are available each year. The program enables participants to establish market and customer relevance, build commercial relationships, and focus on revenue opportunities available to them.

The NIH CAP is a mentoring and assistance program. It is not a curriculum-based approach. Instead, each participant works individually at their pace with an assigned industry expert called the Principal Advisor (PA) and other current industry experts in business areas relevant to the participating company’s technology space and commercialization needs to achieve his/her goals and to achieve program completion. The program is aimed at assisting participants with evaluating their commercialization options based on their specific technologies (including the need and prospect for investment, strategic partnerships, or licensing) and at developing a solid market-entry plan covering an 18-month period. The assistance rendered under CAP is practical and actionable; oriented to addressing gaps that exist in your company’s current commercialization status; and will enable your company to fully articulate a compelling case for market channels relevant to your business and to develop a clear understanding of potential customers, partners, investors, and competitors. These goals are achieved from contact with experienced advisors and live feedback from current industry executives and others.  We recommend and strongly encourage the participation of the CEO and/or other top management team member(s) with oversight and decision-making authority over commercialization strategy and issues for the company.

The NIH CAP is set up as a three-track customized program, conducted for the most part virtually, and designed to serve the needs of up to 80 HHS/NIH SBIR/STTR Phase II awardees at different levels of commercialization experience and expertise, such as for “emerging companies” (i.e. new to, or with limited experience in the commercial marketplace) and for “seasoned companies” with more established commercialization experience which are facing more complex business strategic challenges.

The program is customized to meet the needs of participating companies in three distinct tracks, each different in its objectives and outcomes: The Commercialization Transition Track (CTT) for emerging companies, the Advanced Commercialization Track (ACT), and the Regulatory/Reimbursement Training Track (RTT) for “seasoned” companies. The available slots will be distributed among the three tracks, and it should be noted that a participant company may only be accepted into one of the three tracks.  Based on your background and experience, your company will be assigned into one of these three tracks:

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