Women’s Health

Program Overview

The Women’s Health Capital Call will support collaborative projects which aim to improve the discovery, technical innovation, and/or analysis of datasets to answer pressing life science questions around Women’s Health.

Massachusetts recognizes that there has been a lack of development in novel solutions to treat conditions that solely or disproportionately affect women, or have a different presentation between genders. This impacts not only patients, but also employers and the healthcare system. The consequences are profound, with women more likely to have adverse drug reactions than men, and the lack of effective therapies results in reduced quality of live. The Center aims to support and incentivize translational project teams who are developing novel solutions in this area of need.

Design: Project teams comprise of not-for-profit MA institutions collaborating with at least one for-profit Massachusetts life science company to solve a pressing life science question which solely, disproportionately, or differently affects women.

  • Up to $6M capital dollars are available to support work and equipment at not-for-profit partners; each award is anticipated to be ~$750K
  • For-profit partner provides salary support for at least one new scientist  to be appointed, at least in part, at the not-for-profit partner, as well as other financial and in-kind contributions (equipment donations, salaries, reagents etc.) to leverage MLSC capital dollars
  • Projects should be completed within 2-3 years post grant award
  • There is no limitation on the number of proposals that may be submitted by each non-profit institution. There is no limit on applications from Applicants, but Project Teams are allowed to submit only one application per round.

Program Eligibility

Applicants must be a Massachusetts legally organized “not-for-profit” entity such as an academic/research institution, a hospital engaged in research, business incubator or accelerator, or other not-for-profit entity that would be eligible for capital funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Institutions that are exclusively health care providers and/or requests for the purchase of equipment associated with standard healthcare delivery would not be eligible for capital funding.

Eligible applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be non-profit institutions, including research institutions and academic medical centers.
  • Each application must be submitted by a Project Team, consisting of a principal investigator(s) (PI) at Applicant institution and one (or more) Company(s).
  • The PI must have a full-time or part-time faculty position at a college, university, or non-profit institute in Massachusetts. The lead Company must have a presence and be registered to do business in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • The requested funding must support the performance of translational research that is intended to accelerate the understanding of critical healthcare issues or develop new treatment methods for conditions which solely or disproportionately affect women, or have a different presentation between genders (i.e. heart attacks). The requested funds can only be used to support capital costs (equipment, supplies, reagents, etc.) at the MA non-profit institution.
  • Projects will be evaluated, in part, based on the level of support offered to the Applicant in a support letter(s) which delineates the amount of cash, in-kind, and/or other contributions (equipment donation, cell lines, drug or material samples, internal salary, etc.) to be provided by the Company and any other sources (grantee institution, etc.). The more MLSC dollars leveraged by additional third party support, the stronger the application.
  • In addition, the Applicant will be required to provide documentation of a cash component from the Company to support at least one new scientist for the duration of the project following grant award.
  • Applicants must demonstrate how they will work collaboratively with the Company to execute the project.
  • These funds are intended to catalyze new life science discoveries. Therefore, sponsored research agreements (or other similar arrangements) executed before January 23, 2020 between the parties will not be considered as part of the letter of support for this program.
  • The Applicant and Company must be in compliance with all other Center agreements, if any.

Application and Review Process

The program is now accepting applications for its inaugural year. The FY20 Women’s Health application deadline is 12:00 p.m., February 14, 2020. Please visit our SmartSimple application portal to apply.

While the MLSC recognizes that different areas of translational research have different time horizons, successful proposals will explain a clear path, with executable milestones, that leads to new discoveries in partnership with the Company.

The following list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather representative of the types of pertinent healthcare issues that can particularly benefit from discovery and innovation: endometriosis, menopause, osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, drug metabolism and dosing, multiple sclerosis, lupus, thyroid diseases, heart attack, IBS, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, fertility, birth control, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, drug excretion during breastfeeding, etc.

Review Criteria: Applications will be reviewed by an external panel of scientists from academia and industry with expertise in Women’s Health. Applications will be reviewed in the following categories:

  • Qualifications of the Team
  • Use of funds and value to the MA ecosystem
  • Proposed plan, including the following: unmet need/market opportunity, data generation and sharing (if applicable), scientist training, and approach to solving a key question in Women’s Health

Top applicants may be asked to meet with our review panel and will be notified of such a request.

Funding

  • Allowable costs for MLSC funds: equipment, research supplies and reagents (no minimum dollar amount), purchase of hardware and software, generation of data via core facilities, purchase of analytical equipment.
  • Non-fundable expenses include: direct labor, legal expenses, travel, paying off debt, paying board members, paying for operating costs such as rent and utilities, renting space for storage of memory or hard drives, monthly cloud storage fees, other monthly subscription fees, and activities funded by other funding sources.
  • Following execution of the grant agreement, funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis to the Awardees.
  • The number and amount of awards will be determined by the quality of the proposals.
  • Typical grant request for this program is up to $750,000. Teams requesting more than $750,000 will be asked to describe the compelling circumstances and provide sufficient information to justify this special request.
  • The Center reserves the right to adjust the requested amount of funding for each proposal.

Additional Information

For more information about Post-award Deliverables, Confidentiality, and General Conditions, please check here. If you have further questions regarding the application process, please email the Industry team: WomensHealth@Masslifesciences.com.

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