2019 BRiDGE RFA for Expertise and Space in the Chesterfield Building

November 8, 2018

Applications are being accepted until November 30, 2018

Request for Applications (RFA)

The Bioengineering Research initiative to Develop Global Entrepreneurs (BRiDGE) is made possible by a philanthropic gift to the Pratt School of Engineering and additional funds from the Pratt School of Engineering and the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Duke University. 

BRiDGE engages Duke BME faculty, Duke BME post-doctoral fellows and students, and Duke BME alumni to support the launch of new Bioengineering companies (NewCos) with the goal of developing a vibrant Bioengineering entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Application deadline: November 30th, 2018

Initiative Details 

The BRiDGE provides: 

1)    Physical infrastructure: a total space of about 2,000 sq. ft. has been allocated in the Chesterfield building in downtown Durham.

2)    Intellectual expertise: training in creating business plans will be provided in partnership with the Director of Entrepreneurship at Duke Engineering, William Walker.

3)    Educational program: hands on learning via summer internship opportunities in the NewCos located in BRiDGE for Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng) students in BME and the department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS).

We anticipate that a maximum of three new companies will be selected in this cycle.

This initiative aims to achieve the following goals:

  1. Accelerate the development of Bioengineering NewCos by positioning them for equity investment by venture capital and angel investors.
  2. Accelerate technology development to enable strategic partnering with pharmaceutical, medical device, or diagnostics companies.
  3. Increase the odds of successful commercialization by combining the scientific rigor of academic inventors with the expertise of seasoned product development mentors.
  4. Provide a blueprint for commercialization of biomedical discoveries and technologies, and disseminate and export this model to other institutions.


Selected NewCos will enter into a 11-month license agreement with an option to renew for up to a total of three years.

  1. Companies will need to commit to at least one table in the wet lab and 1 cubicle in the cubicle area.
  2. Occupancy cost will be $121.25/lf per table and $248 per cubicle, to be paid on a monthly basis.
  3. This fee includes access to:
  • Common lab spaces: cell culture room, equipment rooms, and fume hood room
  • Common BRiDGE lab equipment: refrigerators, freezers, incubators (with sentinel temperature monitoring system), centrifuges, biosafety cabinet, microscopes, centrifuges, nanodrop, PCR machine, gel doc imager, water bath, microplate reader, Microfluidizer, cary machine, microwave, oven, DI water supply, bacterial shakers, pH meter, fume hoods, etc.
  • BRiDGE offices: to be booked by the hour.
  • Building amenities: autoclave, glass washer, cold room, housekeeping, wifi, and ability to book conference rooms on the 4th floor.
  • A laboratory administrator. This person will be in charge of: central ordering; developing and maintaining standard operating procedures (SOPs), perform quality checks to ensure the safety of BRiDGE space; hazardous waste; mail sorting.

BRiDGE has created accounts with Stericycle and air gas and can directly bill the companies needing these services.

The BME Department will sponsor non-Duke staff as Duke Affiliates, so that they can get Duke card IDs and secure short-term parking in the parking lot at 704 W Pettigrew St.

Renewal will be subject to an evaluation at the end of each occupancy term. Factors to be considered in renewal include:

(1) Progress towards technological and commercial milestones

(2) Follow-on funding

If a renewal request is rejected, companies will be notified about 3 months prior to the expiration date.

Key Dates

  • Application submission deadline: Nov 30, 2018
  • Selection of awardees: Dec 14, 2018
  • Notice of awards: Dec 20, 2018
  • Occupancy start date: as early as Jan 1, 2019


  • Applicants must be NewCo founders. Founders include holders of common stock issued prior to licensing (ie. founder’s stock) reflecting their contribution to the invention or any named contributor on an IDF licensed to the NewCo. Employees of a company who have been or will be granted stock compensation as part of their employment must meet the prior criterion in order to be considered founders.
  • Applicant must be the NewCo founder who satisfies one of the following requirements:
    • Duke faculty with a primary or secondary appointment in BME.
    • BME post-doctoral fellow
    • BME graduate or undergraduate student
    • Duke BME alumnus/a, including former students and post-doctoral fellows
    • Established NewCo
    • A license or option from Duke, or proof of ongoing negotiations
    • Proof of funding to cover occupancy costs (i.e. VC/angel investment, awarded grant or with fundable score)

Review Criteria

BRiDGE Steering Committe will review applications, and the progress made by Newco members of BRiDGE towards milestones, and will make decisions on renewal or, if necessary, termination of NewCos from BRiDGE.

The Steering Committee will consider the following criteria when reviewing and scoring applications:

  • Significance: scale of the market need being addressed, and competitive advantage
  • Feasibility: defined and achievable milestones, and availability of funds to pay occupancy costs through SBIR/STTR grants, North Carolina Biotechnology Center grants or loans, and/or angel/VC funding.
  • Quality of the team and external validation through SBIR/STTR grants, and/or equity investments, and/or strategic partnerships
  • Translational potential: stage of development, IP status, license/option, plans for first in human trial

Instructions for Submitting an Application

Please submit your appliction via Duke’s MyResearchProposal online submission system.

  • To apply, visit http://bit.ly/myresearchproposal click on “Create New User” (or log in if you already have an account. If you forgot your password, please contact myresearchproposal@duke.edu). Proposals must be submitted under the NewCo founder’s fullfilling the eligibility criteria.
  • A step-by-step user’s guide for applying via the MyResearchProposal software is available - Please review the tutorial at MyResearchProposal tutorial
  • Enter Access Code “bridge”, then select the “BRiDGE cycle 2_2019” program and follow the instructions.

Applicants will enter the following information via the web-based form (about 10 pages plus attachments):

1. NewCo information: name, date incorporated, founders, leadership team, primary contact

2. Applicant name, contact information, and affiliation (applicant should be the founder)

3. Information for team moving physically to BRiDGE: name, email, employer, position, role in the company

4. Financial manager: name, contact information

5. Intellectual property status: IDFs, patents, license agreements or options

6. Sources of funding: ongoing, and planned/pending

7. Regulatory information: IRB, IND/IDE, IACUC

8. The application consists of the following sections:

1. Technology description (1 page), classification, and stage of development

2. Quarterly milestones and timeline (1 page)

3. NIH biosketches for all NewCo founders. See https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm for further details.

9. Anticipated needs: term of occupancy, bench, and cubicles.


Award recipients will be required to complete a brief progress report on the 8th month of each 11-month term. A template will be provided.

Selected NewCos will be encouraged to accept at least one MS or MEng student in BME or MEMS as summer interns for an 8-12 week duration.

Contact Information

General questions not answered in the RFA about the proposals and the review process should be addressed to bridge@duke.edu before submission.

For My Research Proposal questions, please contact Anita Brantley: 919- 668-4774 or myresearchproposal@duke.edu.