The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has issued a Request for Information to identify sources with the capability to amplify, sequence, and assemble sequence data for biothreat agents into high-quality genomes.
The Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) effort is specifically looking to identify sources that can perform these pathogen characterization tasks for a large volume of samples on a yearly basis, with little or no government investment in instruments or infrastructure.
Rapidly and efficient characterization of biothreat agents genomes generates invaluable data which can be utilized to design molecular assays and diagnostics.
Information gathered in response to this RFI will be used to support the development of a strategic plan for notional future DTRA investments in genomics and NGS. It is envisioned that the genomics portfolio at DTRA will be able to fund the sequencing on the order of hundreds or thousands of pathogens per year.
Respondents should be able to demonstrate the ability to culture and propagate select agents and toxins including the appropriate permits to receive live select agents and the required Biosafety Level (BSL) 4 facilities for certain agents. Respondents should also have the demonstrated ability to assemble bacterial genomes into “finish” status including species with high or low GC content, large repeat regions, and other genomic structures which can impede genome assembly.
This RFI is targeted to mature organizations and institutions that have demonstrated the ability to comprehensively perform end-to-end NGS in such environments. Sources with development efforts focused on decreasing the cycle time are encouraged to outline their research and development efforts.
The RFI was issued by the Diagnostics, Detection and Disease Surveillance Division, Chemical and Biological Technologies Department at DTRA. The responses from companies will be used to inform a strategic plan for notional future DTRA investments in genomics and NGS.
Further details are available under Solicitation Number: HDTRA1-12-CBA-0005. The response deadline is October 31, 2012.