COLUMBIA, Md., Jan. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission (Commission) has announced a new program for pre-clinical and clinical research grants. This program will support for-profit companies in advancing medical therapies using human stem cells. The Commission has issued a new request for Applications (RFA), RFA-MD-12-4, soliciting proposals for this program.
"In Maryland, we stand on the cutting edge of technology and innovation," said Governor O'Malley. "To grow Maryland's biotech and life sciences assets, this session, we are proposing $10.4 million to continue the State's investment in Stem Cell Research. I am pleased that the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission will help our State continue to create jobs and tap into science and discovery. Together, with business and government partners alike, we can continue to make critical investments in the way we feed, fuel and heal our world."
Established under the Maryland Stem Cell Research Act of 2006, the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF) supports all types of human stem cell research in the State of Maryland. In response to the three RFAs previously issued for the current funding cycle, the Commission has received 179 research applications: 30 Investigator-Initiated, 105 Exploratory and 44 Post-Doctoral Fellowships proposals, maintaining a continued high level of interest from the scientific community. The new RFA was created to accelerate the pace of stem cell research in Maryland and to continue to return the State's investment by stimulating the local economy.
"Moving research as rapidly as possible from the laboratory to pre-clinical and clinical trials will shorten the time patients must wait to benefit from emerging new stem cell therapies," said Margaret Conn Himelfarb, MPH, Chair of the Commission. "Our new RFA is intended to strategically and responsibly expedite this critical stage of scientific development. It marks a major milestone toward realizing the goal of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Act, and helps support the State's burgeoning biotech industry."
Because its proximity to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes Maryland an attractive location for life sciences companies, the Commission hopes this program will help attract new companies to the State. Maryland-based companies of all types are eligible to apply for RFA-MD-12-4. Companies conducting clinical research may be based elsewhere in the United States, but the work funded under this RFA must be conducted at a site in Maryland. Companies conducting pre-clinical research must be based in Maryland. No MSCRF funding will be used to support work conducted outside of Maryland.
Applicants for pre-clinical research grants may request up to $500,000 in direct costs, and applicants for clinical research grants are eligible to receive up to $750,000 in direct costs. Both grants will be budgeted over a period of up to three years. RFA-MD-12-4 is intended only for companies requesting funds for projects that have achievable milestones. Studies must comply with all FDA guidelines. In pre-clinical applications, preference will be given to late-stage pre-clinical research. Proposals that involve a clinical trial must have an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) or an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) cleared by the FDA for the therapy or device under investigation, before the application is submitted to MSCRF for review.
Pre-clinical research grant awards require a 1:2 match (applicant:MSCRF), all or part of which may be an in-kind match. Clinical research grant awards require a 1:1 match (applicant:MSCRF), all or part of which may be an in-kind match. In-kind matches may include personnel, salaries and equipment.
Applicants are required to electronically submit a pre-application through the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) designated system by going to http://submissions.marylandtedco.org/preapp. The deadline for pre-applications is April 17, 2012, for funding in FY 2013.
For more information about the MSCRF and to view the FY 2011 annual report, please visit www.mscrf.org.
About the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF) was established by the State of Maryland under the Maryland Stem Cell Research Act of 2006 to promote State-funded stem cell research and cures through grants and loans to public and private entities in the State. Administered by the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), the MSCRF is overseen by an independent Commission that sets policy and develops criteria, standards and requirements for applications to the Fund. For more information about the MSCRF and a list of Commission members, please visit www.mscrf.org.
SOURCE Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund