The U.S. government’s “designated driver” delivering federal support to the nation’s biomedical industry just opened a new freeway into Research Triangle Park.

The driver is the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority’s (BARDA). And the new freeway, its Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures, or DRIVe, has simplified the process companies and researchers can use to apply for grants to fund disruptive solutions to health security threats.

Medical product developers, research teams, and companies developing innovative products and technologies addressing health security threats can use the streamlined process called the EZ BAA to submit abstracts outlining their projects.

To apply:

  • Download the application from the DRIVe website;
  • Submit a technical abstract no longer than 2,000 words;
  • Include a cost proposal of an additional 2,000 words or less;
  • Keep costs below $749,000.

“DRIVe is a unique initiative that has simplified the way people can apply for funding from the program,” said Mary Beth Thomas, Ph.D, senior vice president for science and business development at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

“It requires less up-front time and effort to prepare and submit an application. That, in turn, allows for quicker funding decisions from BARDA.”

DRIVe will review a submitted application and notify the applicant of the review results within 30 days.
Thomas points out that BARDA’s DRIVe is forming unique public-private partnerships to drive innovation through collaboration. The program will offer a novel way to engage diverse organizations in critical technology development to meet the health security challenges faced by the nation.

DRIVe is looking for the most innovative products and technologies to protect Americans from the most serious systemic, natural and intentional health security threats. Its goal is to build a portfolio of products representing disruptive innovative approaches that will transform health security.

Current “impact areas” include:

  • Products and solutions to reduce illness and death from sepsis as part of DRIVe’s Solving Sepsis Initiative;
  • Technologies and processes for the early  identification of  infections and exposures to biological and other health threats, as outlined in the Early Notification to Act, Control, and Treat (ENACT) initiative;
  • A limited number of radical, disruptive innovations that have the ability to transform health security.

In June 2018, BARDA awarded the First Flight Venture Center in Research Triangle Park a $98,000 DRIVe grant to serve as one of eight U.S. accelerators to assist startups and businesses in developing their health security technologies and products.

The accelerators connect companies and researchers to essential product development business support services to position them for follow-on investments from the public or private sectors.

Thomas notes that it is significant that First Flight was recognized by BARDA as one of its Health Security Accelerators, highlighting the strength of N.C. life science ecosystem. NCBiotech will continue to work closely with First Flight’s Health Security Accelerator Program Manager Emil Runge, to help get the word out about future BARDA/DRIVe opportunities.

Potential applicants can scan the acronyms to learn more about the DRIVe EZ-BAA review criteria, and get even more information by emailing

Copyright NC Biotech Center 2018