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Johnson & Johnson-Penn Proof of Concept Fund:
June 8

Statement of Purpose

The primary goal of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J)-Penn Proof of Concept (PoC) Fund is to finance, on a University-wide basis, early-stage life sciences research to achieve technological “proof of concept.” Developed by Penn’s Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) and Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Office of Science and Technology (COSAT), the Fund focuses on development of therapeutic areas and technology platforms of strategic interest to J&J for potential product development opportunities in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and medical devices. The purpose of this program is to identify projects with potential for commercialization. Projects should be at a developmental stage at which carefully designed studies are likely to provide proof of concept. Awards from the Fund will be made twice a year and will be administered by the vice provost for research.


Areas of Interest: The PoC Fund supports the development of research for the following therapeutic areas:

  • Cardiovascular Science
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Immunomodulatory
  • Pain
  • Metabolic
  • Dermatology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Inflammation
  • Central Nervous System/Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Infectious Disease

The Fund also supports broadly the development of the following technology platforms:

  • Biomaterials
  • Natural Products
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Drug Discovery Technologies
  • Nanotechnology
  • Biotechnology
  • Energy-Based Drugs
  • Biomarkers
  • Nucleic Acid-Based Drugs
  • Tissue Engineering

Term: Funds must be spent within 12 months of the beginning of the grant, and may not be “banked” for future use. Unexpended funds must be returned.

Budget: Applications may request up to approximately $125,000 including 25 percent indirect costs.

Eligibility: Eligibility is limited to University of Pennsylvania faculty, in any track, at any professorial level.

Application Process

The Application should include:

1.  A Johnson & Johnson-Penn Proof of Concept Fund proposal cover sheet which can be downloaded from the website for the Fund (www.upenn.edu/research/poc/).

2.  An abstract, no more than 200 words, written for the educated non-specialist.

3.  A description of the proposal, which should be no more than five single-spaced pages. Proposals should provide background, purpose and significance of the project, methods to be used, work to be undertaken, and outlook for development.

4.  A single-page biographical sketch for each investigator working on the project.

5.  A budget with justification for each item requested. Items that can be requested include salary for technical and trainee staff, relevant travel, supplies and minor equipment specifically designed for the proposed research. These awards cannot be used to support faculty salary.

6.  Other research support, including current funding with a list of titles, amounts, sources and grant periods, plus pending applications.

7.  Regulatory issues. If research involves human subjects, animals, biohazards, or otherwise raises regulatory issues, the application should identify those concerns and provide documentation that they will be addressed. If IRB, IACUC or Environmental Safety review and approval is required, it may be obtained after the proposal has been approved but must be in place before funds are expended or research is initiated.

8.  Conflict of interest. The applicant should explicitly make a statement whether or not the application involves any potential conflict of interest and any such conflicts should be described and appropriate financial disclosure submitted.

Submission: The complete proposal should be sent electronically as a single PDF document to corbett@pobox.upenn.edu by June 8, 2005. Please notify Janine Corbett (215-898-3602) if you have not received an electronic receipt for your proposal by June 10, 2005.

Review Process

There will be a two-phase review process:

1.  A Penn faculty-based Priority Committee, chaired by the vice provost for research, will prioritize applications on the basis of merit, meeting unmet needs and potential for future development and/or commercialization.

2.  A joint Penn-J&J Funding Committee will make the final decision about funding.

Right and Commitments

1.  J&J will not have ownership rights to any funded research results or related intellectual property.

2.  J&J will have the right of “First Disclosure” to the Project Report (non-confidential description of research results and potential future applications) of any funded research.

3.  J&J will receive an exclusive right to negotiate to fund further technological development. Such right applies for 90 days, after which right reverts to Penn for independent development.



  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 31, May 3, 2005


May 3, 2005
Volume 51 Number 31


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