Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP)

GAPP Investment Strategy and Guidelines

GAPP Overview

Expression of Interest Forms

Supplementary Proposal Forms

Overview

The Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP) represents a key element in Genome Canada’s strategic plan towards funding downstream research and development (R&D) projects that address real world challenges and opportunities as identified by industry, government, notfor-profits and other “Users” of genomics research.

Genome Canada is a catalyst for developing and applying genomics for the benefit of Canadians. Genome Canada builds bridges between government, academia and industry to forge a genomics-based public-private innovation enterprise focused on key life science sectors (human health, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, energy, mining, and environment). Genome Canada and the regional Genome Centres have made significant investments in large-scale genomics1 research and leading-edge technologies which has allowed Canada to become a leader in the field of genomics. We are now focusing a significant amount of effort to build and improve ways of translating discoveries into new applications by enabling the transfer of knowledge and technologies from Academia to the User community in ways that will maximize the impact of this initial investment and lead to economic and social benefits for Canada.

Objectives

The GAPP aims to:

  • promote the application of genomics-derived solutions to address key sector challenges or opportunities facing Users – User “pull”;
  • promote commercialization of genomics technologies by enabling the transfer of genomics-derived solutions from Academia to Users as well as de-risking and incentivizing follow-on investment from public and private partners;
  • increase the socio-economic impact of genomics research by accelerating its translation to application or market; and,
  • create and foster a more productive interface between Academia and Users.

Parameters

  • Up to $30 million is available from Genome Canada for this program
  • Genome Canada will provide support for small-scale proof-of-concept or pilot projects through to large-scale projects, ranging in size from $300,000 to $6 million in total project budget, with the Genome Canada investment not to exceed more than 1/3 of the total investment in the project by all parties. The remaining 2/3 must be secured through cofunding with at least 1/3 provided by the User(s) (see Section 9 and Appendix 2 for more details on co-funding)
  • Generally, the project term should be a minimum of six months to a maximum of three years. A shorter or longer term will be considered, but only if a strong rationale is provided.

Project Eligibility

To be eligible for funding, proposals must:

  • respond to the objectives of the GAPP
  • represent an active partnership between Academic(s) and User(s) (see Section 5);
  • propose to develop, enhance or validate a genomics-derived solution (i.e., a product, tool or process whose origin is based in genomics);
  • address key challenges or opportunities defined by the User that require a partnership with Academia (i.e., User “pull”); and
  • focus on downstream R&D activities.

Examples of downstream R&D include proof-of-concept, validation or product/tool development projects for which there is a significant commercial market potential for the product, tool or process to be developed, enhanced or validated or other measurable impacts, such as uptake into practice or policy. The GAPP will support projects that have direct or indirect impacts on human health or have socio-economic benefits in other sectors of importance to Canada’s economy, e.g., agriculture, fisheries, forestry, energy, mining and the environment. The GAPP is intended to fund projects that enable the transfer of knowledge and technologies from Academia to Users and require support from Genome Canada to de-risk and incentivize followon investment from public and private partners.

The GAPP is not intended to provide funding for:

  • discovery research projects;
  • the commercial launch of a new product, tool or process; or,
  • projects that would normally be funded solely by the User (e.g., industry).

Project Partners

There are two categories of partners in GAPP projects: Academics and Users. The roles and responsibilities of each Project Partner in arriving at the anticipated outcome(s) must be clearly defined. To be eligible for funding, each project must represent an active partnership between the Academic and the User. An active partnership is defined as one that leverages the resources of the Partners. It is expected that the Academic will provide expertise and knowledge with respect to the genomics-derived solution proposed. It is expected that the User must provide leadership in the identification of: the key issues to be solved; platforms, services or products to be developed; and, how these platforms or services would be exploited or moved forward. Partners must, individually or collectively, have a demonstrated track record of achieving results and translating discoveries to market or application. The proposal must be coled by an Academic and an individual from the User organization(s) to demonstrate commitment, leadership and active partnership.

Academics

An Academic is defined as an independent investigator who is a faculty member employed by a Canadian post-secondary organization or their affiliated institutions including hospitals and research institutes. Researchers from not-for-profit organizations may be considered the Academic Project Partner if the organization has an explicit research mandate.

Users

Users include companies, industry consortia, government departments or agencies, or not-forprofits that have a credible plan for exploiting project results for the socio-economic benefit of Canada. The User must show that it has the expertise and resources to put the plan into effect or the means, as well as the intention, to acquire this capacity.

Company

A company is defined as a private or public, Canadian- or foreign-owned organization that derives the majority of its revenues from the sale of products and services and not from government aid. Small or start-up companies (companies in the R&D phase) that have sound business plans may be accepted as Users. For researcher-owned companies, the company must demonstrate that it has its own facilities and staff, physically separated from the academic researcher's laboratory (e.g. located in a university incubator facility or off campus).

Other Users

Other Users, including government departments and agencies, industry consortia and not-forprofits are eligible if they are in a position to exploit the results of the project in a way that results in significant socio-economic benefit to Canada.

Socio-Economic Benefits to Canada

The proposed socio-economic benefits to Canada must be significant, e.g., providing a competitive advantage to Canadian industry, improving public policy, or enhancing the costeffectiveness of the healthcare system.

All Expressions of Interests (EOIs) must include clearly defined and quantifiable milestones and describe, with supporting evidence, the following:

  • deliverables to be realized by the end of the project
  • unique advantages of the product, tool or process being developed
  • anticipated social and economic benefits to Canada within 3 to 5 years of project completion and who will benefit, including how the deliverables will benefit the User
  • next steps after the end of the project such that the deliverables are likely to be exploited for the socio-economic benefit of Canada in the near term
  • market potential, or other measurable impact, for the product, tool or process to be developed, validated or enhanced
  • if the objective is commercialization, the commercial need, competitive landscape and cost/benefit of the product, tool or process being developed
  • extent to which the product or tool is worth pursuing
  • commercialization/translation strategy, or other strategies to ensure uptake into policy or practice, and how any impediments to application or uptake of the product, tool or process will be addressed, e.g., regulatory hurdles or societal aspects
  • Intellectual Property (IP) arrangement and how it is structured

EOIs must take into account any societal issues (environmental, economic, ethical, legal and social) that may impact the success of the project or potentially delay uptake into practice. See Appendix 1 for more details on all review criteria.

Intellectual Property

As negotiation of issues related to intellectual property (IP) is anticipated to be critical to the finalization of contracts between the Academic(s) and the User(s), at the time of submission of a Supplementary Proposal, applicants will be required to provide a non-legally binding Term Sheet. A template will be provided as a guide for terms to be addressed.

The Term Sheet must address the following issues:

  • Ownership of ‘foreground’ IP generated by the project;
  • Rights to use ‘background’ IP required for use in the project;
  • Licences to use foreground and background IP to the different project participants;
  • Management issues related to foreground IP (such as patent expenses, patenting decisions, dividing fields and scopes of use); and,
  • Risk management issues (what special risks might be present in this project and on which project participant do those risks fall).

Genome Canada does not take an ownership stake in project IP; however, in funding projects within GAPP, Genome Canada expects any intellectual property created or developed within a project to be exploited, including licensing, in a way that maximizes benefits for Canada. Ownership of IP created or acquired as part of projects in which Genome Canada is directly or indirectly involved shall be in accordance with each of the participants’ (e.g., Federal or Provincial government departments or Crown Corporations, private sector companies, universities, research hospitals or any other participants) internal IP policies and Provincial and or Federal legislation, if applicable (refer to Genome Canada’s Intellectual Property Policy). Applicants should also contact their Genome Centre for information on specific Genome Centre guidelines related to IP.

Application Process & Key Deadlines

There is a three-stage gated application process for this program:

  1. Expression of Interest (EOI)
  2. Project Pitch
  3. Supplementary Proposal

EOIs must be submitted to Genome Canada through a Genome Centre (see Contacts) and will be accepted at any time, until all funding has been committed. There will be two rounds per year for evaluating Supplementary Proposals and future cut-off dates for submission of these at Genome Canada (contact your regional Genome Centre for their preliminary deadline as it is likely to be several weeks in advance of the Genome Canada deadline) can be found on Genome Canada’s website under GAPP.

Note: All reviewers at all stages of the process will have signed confidentiality and conflict of interest forms to ensure information is kept in strict confidence.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

The EOI will be reviewed by the Genomic Applications Programs Portfolio Manager (GAP PM) to determine eligibility for the program. Applicants will normally be informed within two weeks whether their application is considered eligible and will be invited to present a project pitch.

Project Pitch

To help ensure that projects are ready to proceed to the Supplementary Proposal stage, the project team including both the Academic and User Project Leaders will be invited to pitch their project to the GAP PM and external technical and industry experts via teleconference. Projects must present their EOI and pitch through a slide presentation. The EOI/pitch will be reviewed mainly against the criteria for Benefits to Canada and Management (see Appendix 1). Normally within one week after the pitch the project teams will be informed whether they are invited to submit a Supplementary Proposal or further development is required.

Supplementary Proposal

The Supplementary Proposal will focus on the technical aspects and a complete budget. In addition, any questions arising from the pitch will need to be addressed. The Supplementary Proposal will be reviewed mainly against the criteria for Technical and Financial aspects (see Appendix 1) by external technical and industry experts. Genome Canada staff and/or external experts, as required, will be involved in the review of the financial aspects.

Core Evaluation Team

Genome Canada has established a Core Evaluation Team (CET) composed of external experts with expertise in business development, commercialization, public policy, socio-economic benefit analysis, IP, financing, venture capital, etc. The CET meets every round to review the proposals and the reports from the reviewers, and to make recommendations to Genome Canada regarding funding. The CET will also be involved in the ongoing monitoring of funded projects, as described in Appendix 2, Section 3.5.

Eligible Costs and Co-Funding

The main categories of eligible costs are: i) salaries and benefits, ii) consumables, iii) equipment, iv) general and administrative costs and iv) services from others. Genome Canada funds may be used to cover eligible costs incurred by the Project, with the exception of costs incurred outside Canada or within organizations that are not eligible to receive Genome Canada funding, i.e., companies or federal government departments and agencies.

Genome Canada will invest up to 1/3 of the funding required to cover eligible costs; the remaining 2/3 must be secured through co-funding with at least 1/3 provided by the User(s). If there is more than one User this will need to be justified at the time of submitting the EOI. The Genome Centres, working with the applicants, are responsible for securing co-funding. Co-funding must be for new or incremental activities that are an integral part of the Genome Canada approved project.

For more details on eligible costs and co-funding, refer to Appendix 2.

Contacts

Andy Stone Genome Atlantic 902-421-5645 astone@genomeatlantic.ca
Chris Barker Genome Prairie 306-668-3587 cbarker@genomeprairie.ca
Diane Bouchard Genome Québec 514-398-0668 x 236 dbouchard@genomequebec.com
Gijs Van Rooijen Genome Alberta 403-210-5253 vanrooijen@genomealberta.ca
Rhonda Tannenbaum Ontario Genomics Institute 416-673-6586 rtannenbaum@ontariogenomics.ca
Gabe Kalmar Genome British Columbia 604-637-4374 gkalmar@genomebc.ca

[1] The term genomics is defined here as the comprehensive study, using high throughput technologies, of the genetic information of a cell or organism, including the function of specific genes, their interactions with each other and the activation and suppression of genes. For purposes of describing Genome Canada’s mandate it also includes related disciplines such as bioinformatics, epigenomics, metabolomics, metagenomics, nutrigenomics, pharmacogenomics, proteomics and transcriptomics.