The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) program has announced intentions to open a funding solicitation to support early-stage development of new and repurposed drug candidates to mitigate the health effects resulting from exposure to chemical threats.
Chemical threats are toxic compounds that could be used in a terrorist attack or accidentally released from industrial production, storage or shipping. They include traditional chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), pesticides, and pharmaceutical-based agents. The overall scope of this research initiative will include discovery and validation of therapeutic targets through preclinical characterization (i.e., specificity, affinity, potency, target selectivity, post-exposure efficacy) of lead compounds.
Chemical threats of interest for medical countermeasure development under this effort are those included on the current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) List of Chemicals of Concern (CoC), which is for U.S. Government official use only and cannot be published. However, the following Chemical Toxidromes, grouped by mechanism of action and the toxic effects of the agents, serve as an example of over 200 applicable chemical threat agents.
- Anticoagulants (brodifacoum, bromadiolone)
- Blood agents (hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen sulfide)
- Cholinergic warfare (sarin, soman, VX)
- Cholinergic pesticides (parathion, chlorpyrifos, phorate, aldicarb)
- Convulsant (picrotoxin, TETS, strychnine)
- Hemolytic/Metabolic (arsenic trioxide, thallium sulfate, arsine)
- Opioids (fentanyl, diacetyl morphine)
- Lower pulmonary (chlorine, phosgene)
- Upper pulmonary (ammonia, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen fluoride)
- Vesicants (sulfur and nitrogen mustard, phosgene oxime)
Applicants are strongly urged to contact the NIH staff to determine if their proposed threat agent targets are of interest for this effort if in doubt.
As this effort is focused on medical countermeasures that can be administered following a mass casualty event, proposals for drugs that must be administered prophylactically (pre-exposure) will not be considered).
Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Therapeutics Discovery and Early Stage Development (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Not Allowed). A trans-NIH effort issued by: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Eye Institute (NEI), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Estimated publication date: 3 May 2022. Estimated application due date: 13 September 2022.