Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Drug Discovery Partner for HIV Eradication

Request Number
Due Date
Dec 10, 2018
Program Manager


Joint Research / Development, Contract Research / Development, Licensing



Drug discovery strategy: P.O.C. to begin within 2 years

Drug discovery target: Screening to begin within 1 year

Drug candidate: Animal models validation to begin within 1 year

Analysis method: Animal models validation to begin within 2 years



Up to hundreds of thousands of USD for R&D

(Details to be negotiated based on proposed technologies.)


How to  Apply
  • Click on "Respond", complete the form to the extent possible, and submit along with other attachment files available. 
  • After creating your account for NineSights, your draft will be automatically saved and you can resume later from "Control Center". Please note you do not submit confidential information at this process.
  • This request for proposals in PDF format is available here.
If you have any questions or request, please feel free to contact us at: 
RFP was closed on
Dec 2018

RFP Title


Drug Discovery Partner for HIV Eradication
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer, seeks a partner with a drug discovery strategy for the eradication of HIV or one having related technology.

In particular, a range of technologies that can remove HIV-1 reservoirs completely or that can deactivate reservoirs permanently will be anticipated.

Of particularly interest are:

  • Drug discovery strategy for the eradication of HIV
    • Drug discovery strategy with a rationale
      • Excluding tailor-made gene therapy, and those difficult to eliminate the risk of infection
    • New drug discovery target
    • New drug candidate
      • Excluding compounds with similar mechanisms of action to existing antiretroviral drugs (also known as ART, antiretroviral therapy).
  • Analysis method for the size of latent HIV-1 reservoirs
Key Success Criteria


  • For drug discovery strategy:
    • Single administration or combination with ART can achieve the radical or functional* cure for HIV infection(*After ART discontinuation, plasma viral load remains undetectable level.)
    • With regard to drug discovery strategy, proof of concept must be able to begin within 2 years using, for example, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected monkey models (separate discussion will be necessary, however, for drug discovery strategy unverifiable with monkey models, such as one including HIV specific antibody)
  • For analysis method:
    • Must be able to sensitively, rapidly, and accurately analyze the size of latent HIV-1 reservoirs permissive for propagation
    • Culture is not needed before measurement
    • Proof of concept must be able to begin within 2 years, at the latest, using, for example, SIV-infected monkey models
    • In addition to the reservoir size analysis method, a technology that can easily identify propagable viruses is also welcomed, e.g. a technology which can improve a current analysis method sensitivity and its accuracy by double digits or more.


HIV is a virus responsible for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Reportedly, there are now more than 36 million people infected worldwide. Thanks to the advancement of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), HIV infection is no longer a fatal disease. To control HIV, however, ART must be continued throughout life.

After entering the body, HIV, which utilizes the host cell’s machinery to make their own copies, inserts its genetic blueprint into the DNA of a host cell, such as a CD4 T immune cell, then starts producing HIV proteins that act as the building blocks for new HIV. However, some HIV-infected cells go into a latent state and are not actively producing HIV, which is called a latent HIV reservoir.  Latent HIV reservoirs can continue to survive even under ART, thus the discontinuation of ART triggers viral propagation in the body. These machineries prevent complete HIV elimination.

Recently, many methods are studied to reduce the size of latent HIV-1 reservoirs to zero or significantly, including the ‘kick & kill’ strategy. Unfortunately, no method achieves to eliminate HIV completely yet.

The achievement of HIV eradication would contribute to free society from the threat of AIDS and reduction medical expenses. In order to solve such a social issue together with promising organization, this client has issued this open request.

Approaches not of Interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

  • Gene therapies that require tailor-made therapy
  • Therapies that can prevent patients from developing AIDS but hardly eliminate the risk of infection to others
Items to be Submitted


Please submit your proposal by clicking on "Respond" and completing the submission form.

  • Type of proposal (drug discovery strategy / analysis method)
  • Outline of proposed technology (e.g., principle, characteristics, uniqueness, etc.)
  • Rationale or data indicating contribution to HIV eradication
  • Current R&D stage
  • Status of Intellectual property related to the proposed technology
  • Other (e.g., requests concerning the collaboration)


Notes on Response

Proposal shall have clear points and should not include confidential information. Supplemental files may be submitted in addition to the proposal.


Response evaluation

The client will evaluate all responses with the following criteria.

  • Overall scientific and technical merit
  • Approach to proof of concept or performance
  • Economic potential of concept
  • Realism of the proposed plan (action items, timeline, roles, deliverables, cost estimation)
  • Potential for proprietary position
  • Respondents’ capability and related experiences


Anticipated Project Process

After the submission due date, the client will review all submitted proposals. NineSigma will send the review results to each proposer 6-8 weeks after the due date. The client possibly asks clarifying questions before selecting the most suitable candidates for collaboration. The client will select best candidates through evaluations. During the selection process, the client may execute NDA with selected respondents, seek further information disclosure, and discuss specific development targets or potential opportunities.

The client will execute necessary agreements with the selected respondents and move to the advanced development phase. Specifics of any collaboration will be determined through consultation with the concerned parties.


Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest