Preclinical Development of Novel Therapeutics Targeting Aging Mechanisms (SBIR U44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) utilizes the SBIR cooperative agreement (U44) activity code to support the preclinical development of emerging therapeutics targeting fundamental mechanisms of aging (e.g., inflammation, cell senescence, proteostasis). This includes the translation of a broad range of potential geroscience-based therapies, such as new classes of compounds (e.g., senolytics), biologics, stem/progenitor cell-based therapies, repositioning of existing investigational drugs, and repurposing of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs for the treatment and prevention of clinical conditions related to aging and common in the aged. Examples of translational research activities eligible under this FOA include target validation, optimization of lead compounds, pharmacokinetics and drug disposition studies, and preclinical safety/toxicology studies. NIA encourages the submission of applications which involve translational research activities across all stages of preclinical drug development. The development and validation of new methodologies (e.g., organoids, in silico approaches) necessary to advance preclinical development of a given therapeutic are also allowed. While the use of relevant human in vitro systems (e.g., organoids, microphysiological systems (MPS), induced pluripotent stem cells (PSCs)) is strongly encouraged in the preclinical development process, the conduct of first-in-human (FIH) studies and/or early phase clinical trials are outside the scope of this FOA.

Applicants must include a Target Product Profile (TPP) based on FDA guidance in their applications. In addition, U44 awardees will be required to convene periodic meetings with the FDA to discuss any necessary modifications to the TPP based on research progress or to meet specific regulatory requirements (e.g., pre-IND meeting).

Preclinical development of new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and its related dementias (AD/ADRD) are outside the scope of this FOA, as several other NIA FOAs are available for this purpose. Information on current NIA FOAs on AD/ADRD is available at


  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s): October 10, 2020
  • Application Due Date(s): November 10, 2020

RFA-AG-21-026 Expiration Date November 11, 2020

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Only United States small business concerns (SBCs) are eligible to submit applications for this opportunity. 

Amount Description

Total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fee) normally may not exceed $252,131 for Phase I awards and $1,680,879 for Phase II awards. However, NIH has received a waiver from SBA, as authorized by statute, to exceed these total award amount hard caps for specific topics. The current list of approved topics can be found at Applications that address the approved waiver topics may request total cost budgets up to $450,000 for Phase I and $1,250,000 per year for Phase II for up to three years. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIA program officials prior to submitting any application in excess of the guidelines and early in the application planning process. In all cases, applicants should propose a budget that is reasonable and appropriate for completion of the research project.

Funding Type





Medical - Translational

External Deadline

November 10, 2020