Bio-Intelligence Chips (BIC) BAA Questions

#QuestionAnswerDate Posted
001 Many common questions are covered in the IARPA frequently asked questions page. Please see http://www.iarpa.gov/index.php/faqs for these questions. 01/16/14
002 When can we expect the work to begin? "The Bio-Intelligence Chips program is envisioned to begin in June 2014 and end in June 2019." 01/16/14
003 Is there any expected award size?  What size cost proposals are appropriate? Please see IARPA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) B1, which notes that there is no predetermined award size. The cost proposal should be consistent with the effort and expertise required to complete the technical work proposed by the offeror. FAQs are found at http://www.iarpa.gov/index.php/faqs. 01/16/14
004 Is my organization eligible to submit a proposal? Please review the first paragraph of Section 3.A of the BIC BAA, which lists types of organizations which are not eligible to submit proposals or participate as team members. 01/16/14
005 Can you let us know what you think of the technical approach we are considering? No.  Only proposals submitted in response to the subject BAA will be reviewed. 01/16/14
006 Can we expect to be given more time to prepare our proposal? Proposals must be received by or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 in order to be considered during the initial round of selections.  (BAA Section 4.C.1). 01/16/14
007 Does your organization provide samples (urine, blood, etc.)? No.  As stated in BAA Section 1.A.6., "performers will acquire their own samples and develop test plans and metrics to adequately evaluate and characterize all biomarkers." 01/16/14
008 For the Phase 1 program, would a proposal based only on developing -omics biosignatures from small animals infected with appropriate Category 1 Biothreats be deemed responsive? Please refer to the second paragraph of BAA Section 1.A.4, which indicates the range of approaches that are anticipated. 01/16/14
009 The timing of the exposure is not explicitly stated in the BAA and there is reference to both present and past exposures for pathogens in Appendix A. Would a research plan to develop biomarkers for any of the following scenarios be responsive: Remote exposure (past infection), Recent exposure (infection but pre symptomatic), Current exposure (symptomatic)? It is at the discretion of the offeror to determine the most appropriate approach when responding to the subject BAA.  Please refer to BAA section 1.A for further clarification on key program goals and objectives. 01/16/14
010 Proposer would like clarification around the required metrics expected at the end of year 2.  For instance, do exposure biomarkers need to be tested on the proposed platform, or is evidence showing that the assay is transferable sufficient? Section 1.A.1 notes that “It is not required that final results be demonstrated on a portable platform; however future scalability to a portable platform should be described. 01/16/14
011 Are funds available to support ongoing/existing or new sample collections from human subjects? Section 1.A.2.a states “performers will refine exposure hypotheses for chosen threats, identify and validate biomarkers, based on one or more omics, to comprise the signatures, acquire and preprocess samples . . . . " Please also refer to Table 3 on page 10 of the BAA. 01/16/14
012 How much emphasis does this program have on sensor development in Phase I in comparison with the detailed biomarker study? BAA Section 1.A.2 (Program Overview) explains that the purpose of Phase I is to "identify sets of omni-omic signatures for CBW threats of interest." There is no requirement for development of hardware during Phase I. 01/16/14
013 Is a field-portable prototype expected at the end of Phase I or is it sufficient to develop a sensing platform that is scalable to a complete portable system (in Phases II and III)? There is no requirement for development of hardware during Phase I. 01/16/14
014 Is it required or recommended to cover all the -omics in a program or can it be focused on a subset of them? How many biomarkers and toxins/pathogens must be covered in Phase I? It is not expected that every -omic will be required for a single proposal.  The -omics to be used (and corresponding biomarkers and assays) will depend on the proposal’s threat hypothesis (es).   However, as stated in BAA Section 1.A.4, “Although some omics are likely to give rise to a single disproportionately robust biosignature, offers are nonetheless encouraged to cross-correlate omics for improved specificity. Offerors who choose to only explore one omic must provide convincing rationale." Please refer to BAA Section 1.A.4, which explains that "each proposal should target at least one hypothesis addressing at least one threat." Guidance to those who wish to address multiple threats is also provided in that Section.

A number of suitable toxin and pathogen threats are listed in Appendix A.  Appendix B gives an example threat hypothesis and demonstrates selection of biomarkers..
01/16/14
015 May the proposer propose more than one detection mechanism (e.g. MEMS, Optical or Electronic, etc.)? There is no requirement for development of hardware during Phase I. 01/16/14
016 Is the main focus on the bio-hazards/pathogens, or are toxins/chemicals also important? As shown in BAA Appendix A, both are important. 01/16/14
017 The BAA states that "BIC targets design and development of bioassays that can rapidly (in ≤30 min) identify biomarkers." Can you clarify if this time frame does or does not include the time of sample collection to sample analysis, due to possible instability of samples (e.g., mRNA)? Time intervals are from the point of sample collection to the point of definitive measurement. 01/16/14
018 What does the transmittal letter entail? And do you have a sample of what contractor format looks like? The transmittal letter is the formal business letter submitting your proposal, in the format normally used by your organization. 01/16/14
019 What exactly do we need to include for the “cost or pricing data?" Does IARPA have a salary cap? Details on Volume 2 “cost or pricing data" are provided in BAA Section 4.B.2.2. This information “must be provided in sufficient detail to substantiate the summary cost estimates in Volume 1." The Volume 1 summary cost estimates are described in Section 4.B.1.2.
IARPA does not set any salary caps and it is the responsibility of the offerors to determine appropriate salaries commensurate with the work being performed.
01/16/14
020 Do you require a cover page for each of the subcontractors? Questions regarding the format and cost proposal sections for this submission: Do you have a specific format for the “Total cost by major task", “Major program tasks by fiscal year," and “summary of projected funding requirements by month?" Is there a specific start date required? Please follow the guidance in Section 4.B.2 on content and format for the Cost Proposal, providing the information as clearly as possible to facilitate evaluation. See the answer to Question 002 for information on expected start date. A specific start date is not required for your Cost Proposal. 01/16/14
021 What exactly must the Interdivisional Work Transfer Agreements (IWTA) mentioned in pg. 28 of the BAA include from the offerer and the subcontractor? For organizations which use Interdivisional Work Transfer Agreements (IWTAs), the associated cost and rate information must be shown as part of the cost proposal. 01/16/14
022 While the BAA calls for investigating the biomarkers for a variety of threats, the access to blood samples of people affected with these threats seems impossible. Is it acceptable to focus in Phase I on the subset of pathogens/toxins for which blood samples can be obtained (e.g. influenza virus, Salmonella, ... ) while making sure the developed sensors are extendable to other analytes? Please carefully review BAA Section 1.A in determining your technical approach. There is no requirement for development of hardware during Phase I. 01/16/14