Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT): Identification of Therapeutic Lead Compounds (U01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages applications for Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Cooperative Agreement (U01) Research Projects for research on the identification of small molecule or biologic lead compounds that are excellent candidates for therapeutic development. The mission of the CounterACT program is to foster and support research and development of new and improved therapeutics for chemical threats. Chemical threats are toxic chemicals that could be used in a terrorist attack or accidentally released from industrial production, storage or shipping. They include traditional chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, pharmaceutical-based agents, and pesticides.  The scope of research supported by this FOA includes confirmation of molecular targets for therapeutic development, demonstration of in vitro activity of candidate therapeutics, preliminary in vivo proof-of-concept efficacy data, preliminary adsorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity (ADME/Tox) evaluations and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) data. These studies should result in the identification of at least one lead compound ready for optimization. Lead compounds are biologically active and synthetically feasible compounds where specificity, affinity, potency, target selectivity, efficacy, and safety have been established. Lead compounds should be ready for more advanced development under possible support from other programs such as the one described in the companion FOA "CounterACT Optimization of Therapeutic Lead Compound (U01)" (PAR-19-040). The scope of this FOA encompasses Technical Readiness Level (TRL) 1-3 - see TRLs. Each project must include annual milestones that create discrete go or no-go decision points in a progressive translational study plan.  


  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s): 30 days prior to the application due date
  • Application Due Date(s): September 10, 2019; October 8, 2020; September 14, 2021

​PAR-19-039 Expiration Date September 15, 2021

Agency Website



Amount Description

Application budgets may not exceed $300,000 in direct costs per year.

Many applications will not need to request the maximum budget and the requested budget will need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

The maximum project period for an application submitted in response to this funding opportunity may not exceed three years. 

Funding Type





Medical - Translational

External Deadline

September 14, 2021