FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
+ How much funding is available?
Annually, up to $700,000 is available to support selected projects, along with additional in-kind resources (marketing, regulatory, reimbursement, and legal). There is no funding limit per project. All projects and budgets are evaluated on their own merits. Generally, the requested budget should be appropriate to the size of the commercial opportunity.
+ What does project support include?
Funded teams can expect to work closely with a commercialization team comprised of experts and advisors in intellectual property, business development, technology development, regulatory matters, reimbursement, venture formation and incubation, licensing and strategic partnering. Teams should also expect close oversight and monitoring of project performance to help identify issues and obstacles early on.
+ What can funds be used for?
Funds will support a specific, determinative “killer” experiment aimed at getting to human studies (as required) and to patients as quickly as possible. This includes the application of business resources in order to bring downstream product development considerations upstream, and adaptation to new information that may take a team down a path to a different application or technical approach or, even, to quit while ahead. Specifically, funds can be used for salary and fringe benefits for project personnel (other than PIs and Co-PIs), materials and supplies (including animal costs for preclinical studies), consumable equipment (e.g. components for systems), subcontracting/outsourcing technical work, costs for human studies (e.g. IRB fees, patient recruitment fees, etc.), and for travel directly associated with project implementation. Funds may NOT be used for salary or fringe for PIs or Co-PIs, tuition, space and renovations, indirect costs, or to fund a start-up.
+ What types of projects are funded?
Attractive projects include those that have the greatest potential to significantly improve the current standard of clinical care. Typical areas of funding include medical devices for diagnostics and treatment, mobile health/healthcare IT, imaging platforms, etc. Starting this year, projects that seek to develop novel therapeutic drugs and drug delivery technologies will also be considered.
+ What are the team's responsibilities if funded?
Funding is “tranched” and contingent on successful achievement of proposed milestones. Funded teams are expected to work with their commercialization teams as active partners, and to report regularly on progress toward technical and business milestones. Specifically, the program requires regular check-ins, quarterly presentation of written reports, and active participation in mid-term forums to share lessons learned and best practices across all funded projects.
+ What does the program expect in return for funding?
Program funding is not a loan or an equity investment, and the program expects no participation in the economic success of funded projects. The program’s three to five year return-on-investment (ROI) is measured against two criteria: 1) the number of projects that result in a license to an established company with sufficient resources for effective commercialization, and 2) the number of projects that result in a license to a venture capital or private equity-backed start-up company. The ultimate goal is to accelerate the commercialization of products that will improve healthcare for all.
+ What if a team submits a full proposal but does not get selected for funding?
If a project is not selected, we will provide feedback so that teams can address deficiencies and re-apply in the next funding cycle. Projects not funded by the program may be eligible or appropriate for other funding and technology development resources.
+ What are the program outcomes so far?
The Coulter Translational Research Partnership model has been implemented at 16 universities since 2005. More than 420 projects have been funded at these institutions, and roughly one in three has resulted in a license to an established company or new venture (a.k.a start-up); 15 are in clinical trial and another 15 are currently on the market helping improve patient care. Columbia’s program has worked with over 70 clinician-engineer-led teams and provided funding of $3.3M to 35 projects, of which over a quarter have exited the University, with four licensed to industry and six licensed to start-ups, placing the program among the best of the partner institutions nationally. Program support has also helped faculty leverage an additional $48M in government and foundation grants to support continued translational research efforts.
+ Who oversees the Columbia-Coulter Translational Partnership?
Evaluation and selection of proposals is informed by the Executive Team and the Oversight Committee. The Oversight Committee is comprised of the Coulter Principal Investigator; three clinical representatives from Columbia University Medical Center; three representatives from the investor, industry, and entrepreneurial communities; a representative from Columbia Technology Ventures; and a representative of the Coulter Foundation. It is anticipated that the evaluation and selection of proposals will also rely on external business advisors and technical experts to supply specific domain expertise, as appropriate to the subject matter of the proposals received.