Fall 2022

Cell, Gene, and Microbiome Therapies

Request for Proposals for Cell, Gene, and Microbiome Therapies

The Innovative Medicines Accelerator (IMA), partnering with the Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine (CDCM) and the Center for Cancer Cell Therapy (CCT), seeks to accelerate the prototyping of innovative early-stage translational stem cell and gene therapies that address unmet clinical needs. Competitive projects will have a well-justified, novel therapeutic hypothesis and a clearly articulated clinical need. The ideal milestone of a successful project will be an INTERACT or Pre-IND Food and Drug Administration meeting that provides clear, actionable guidance to the applicants regarding an IND submission, or sufficient data to support IND submission.

We also welcome proposals that seek to develop new technologies that will enable innovative therapies. Competitive projects will articulate a compelling justification of how the technology will solve an important problem in translation and result in a well-defined, disease-relevant prototype by the 12-month timepoint to be eligible for further support. Milestones of a successful project would lead directly to a new therapeutic that would be competitive by the metrics described in the previous paragraph.

Support Provided: 

Successful applicants will receive up to $100K for 12 months. Projects that achieve their defined 12-month milestones may be eligible for additional follow-on funding, as needed, to continue supporting project development. This award supports materials/supplies and can support salary/stipend for postdocs and graduate students.

In addition to financial support, selected projects will receive access to the CDCM and/or CCT programs to support future downstream planning for a successful project, including application to CIRM, assistance in planning process development for cell and gene therapy manufacturing, design and execution of proof-of-concept clinical trials, and planning for the use of clinical trial research beds in the Stanford hospitals if needed. 


All application materials must be received by 5 pm on Friday, September 16, 2022. 


All Stanford faculty with PI eligibility are welcome to apply. 

Application Instructions: 

Proposals should be submitted as single PDF files containing the following materials in the order indicated below. All documents should be single-spaced, Arial 11-point font with 1-inch margins. 

  1. Title page (1 page): Project title; Investigator name(s), department, address, phone number, email address, a project summary for a lay audience (150 words max).
  2. Project (3 pages maximum): Briefly describe the therapeutic hypothesis and unmet clinical need and the case for the biological target of the anticipated cell and gene therapy being developed. The proposal should also include a drug prototyping plan in sufficient detail to assess feasibility of the first year’s goals and milestones. Please include up to 5 key references within the 3-page limit.
  3. Milestones (1/2 page): Describe research goals as deliverables and indicate 1-2 key milestones required to reach the goals. The initial research goals should be achievable within 6-12 months.
  4. Budget (1/2 page): NIH-format budget with justification, direct costs only. Funds cannot be used for PI salary support.
  5. NIH-format biosketch for each main investigator

Proposals should be submitted directly through SlideRoom (link below). You do not need to submit your applications to your Research Process Manager (RPM) in RMG or through your Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) Contract and Grant Officer (CGO) for their approval at this time.

Selection Process: 

Proposals will be reviewed by a faculty panel knowledgeable in translational research and evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Novelty and significance of the therapeutic hypothesis
  • Strength of the evidence for the therapeutic hypothesis
  • Availability of needed expertise for prototyping the intended cell/gene therapy
  • Goal-oriented research plans that work towards achieving milestones and key deliverables within the proposed time frame

IMA leadership will reach out to finalists for additional clarification of milestones and deliverables. Final decisions on full proposals will be made by December 2022.

  • For questions about the Cell, Gene, and Microbiome Therapies module of IMA, please contact: Michael Fischbach, Ph.D. fischbach@fischbachgroup.org
  • For questions about the funding opportunity, please contact: Amy Jacobson, Ph.D. amyjacob@stanford.edu