Funding made more attractive for life science companies

By: Richard Zwaal, Project Manager

Life Sciences companies are continuously looking for money. At the same time, the European and US governments are making billions of research and development euros and dollars available each year. Therefore it is obvious for the two sides to team up. However, contracting with the government comes with strict rules and requirements which can be prohibitive for innovative companies delivering the creative and inventive solutions for the health issues of today and tomorrow.

Recognizing the need of attracting pioneering industry partners, the US government meets their needs by putting Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements in place. These are not covered by the rigid Federal Acquisition Regulations and can be tailored to the needs and circumstances of the program and the participants.

For example, under an OTA, companies retain control of their intellectual property rights and do not have to invest in an expensive CAS-qualified financial system that can cost millions of dollars to implement and maintain.

NASA and the Department of Defense already have ample experience with the OTA. Now, the OTA also makes its way to the Life Sciences sector.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) signed its first OTA agreement worth up to $200 million in 2013. Five other high-value agreements have followed. The BARDA OTA focus is on larger partnerships with a cost-share for the development of a portfolio of multiple products against pandemic influenza, emerging pathogens and antibiotic resistance.

NIH uses the OTA when it needs greater flexibility to identify and engage non-traditional research partners, or to engage traditional partners in new ways. OTA programs recently initiated include the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), Data Commons and the Human Biomolecular Atlas Program.

The OTA is a new funding instrument in the Life Sciences sector that lowers the barrier for institutes, SME’s and pharma to join research consortia and public-private partnerships, resulting in more efficient drug development for the benefit of the patients.


Modis Life Sciences can help you building strong consortia, finding relevant subsidies, writing winning applications and providing project management support of your funded project.

Richard Zwaal, Project Manager