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Drug Discovery Subsidy Fund Program


The Drug Discovery Subsidy Fund (DDSF) provides funding aimed at encouraging and supporting SickKids investigators to pursue their interests in high-throughput drug screening in partnership with the SPARC BioCentre.  The fund provides investigators the opportunity to initiate drug screening experiments and generate data that can then be used to acquire external funding, to support future drug screening research with SPARC. The total value of the DDSF to be distributed amongst SickKids investigators is up to $100K per year.  

A typical pilot sized screen (500-5000 compounds) costs $4-8K, depending on whether the assay is cell-free or cell-based, the type of assay readout, the time required to validate the assay, and the ability to automate the screen.  The intention of the DDSF is to reduce this cost to $1-4K for SickKids investigators. No funds will be issued to the investigator; instead, the invoice for the completed drug screen will be credited by the amount of the DDSF award.

Deadline: December 1, 2016.  Another competition is planned for the spring (Deadline May 1).


1) At the time of subsidy application and drug screening, applicants must be training or employed at SickKids.

2) The proposed drug screen must be conducted in partnership with the SPARC BioCentre.

3) The fund can only subsidize pilot screens of assays not previously validated at SPARC and screens that have not yet acquired external funding.  

Evaluation Criteria

Projects will be evaluated according to assay readiness, feasibility, and likeliness to succeed, as well as innovation of the screen and potential impact on human health.

Application Procedures

  1. Applicants must submit an electronic copy of their application including a signed copy of the application cover page, in PDF format, to leanne.wybenga-groot@sickkids.ca.  
  2. Applications are reviewed and evaluated by the DDSF Committee, which currently consists of the SPARC Scientific Advisory Committee and SPARC personnel.
  3. Applicants will be invited to present their proposal to the DDSF Committee on the afternoon of December 14, 2016 (1 to 4 p.m.).  Applicants will be given 5 minutes to summarize their proposal in 3 slides. The committee will be given 10 minutes to discuss the proposal with the applicant and provide feedback. This exercise is not meant to be adversarial but rather to provide clarity for both applicant and committee.
  4. Applicants will be officially notified of whether their application has been approved for funding approximately one month following the deadline.  

Drug Discovery Subsidy Application Form