Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT): Optimization of Therapeutic Lead Compounds (U01 Clinical Trial Optional)

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 optimization of small molecule or biologic 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.  A previously identified lead compound is required to be eligible for this funding opportunity. In this regard, lead compounds are defined as biologically active compounds or hits where affinity, potency, target selectivity, and preliminary safety have been established. The scope of research supported by this FOA includes development of appropriate human-relevant animal models and generation of in vivo efficacy data consistent with the intended use of the product in humans.  It also includes bioanalytical assay development and validation, laboratory-scale and scaleable manufacturing of the product, and non-GLP toxicity and pharmacology studies. The scope of this FOA encompasses Technical Readiness Levels (TRLs) 4-5 - 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-19-040 Expiration Date September 15, 2021

Agency Website



Amount Description

Application budgets may not exceed $500,000 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 five years. 

Funding Type





Medical - Translational

External Deadline

September 14, 2021