Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Open

Assay System for a Drug Targeting Cancer-associated Fibroblasts (CAF)

Request Number
Due Date
Feb 7
Program Manager


Joint research, contract research, licensing



Initiation of compound evaluation: Within 1 year



Necessary to be discussed according to the content of proposal


How to  Apply
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RFP Title


Assay System for a Drug Targeting Cancer-associated Fibroblasts (CAF)
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. (, seeks assay system for a drug targeting cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF).

By using the proposed assay system, the client wishes to quantitatively evaluate the action of a candidate drug compound on CAF (e.g., cytotoxicity). Not only proposals for established assay system but also proposals for assay system which has a prospect to be established are also welcome.

Key Success Criteria


At this time, any proposal that meets the following essential requirements is welcome.

[Essential requirements]

  • Assay system in which human CAF and human cancer cells, derived from a clinical sample, coexist
  • Low passage number after isolation from a clinical sample 

[Conditions welcomed]

It is preferred that assay system meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • Should be able to quantitatively evaluate the action on CAF (e.g., cytotoxic activity)
  • Should be able to analyze gene and protein expression upon the completion of the assay
  • Should be assay system in which immune cells also coexist and immune checkpoint inhibitors can be evaluated
Approaches not of Interest

Approaches Not of Interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

  • In vitro assay models using an established human CAF cell line
    • It is not ensured that the function is maintained due to extended culture following isolation from clinical tumors.
  • In vivo subcutaneous transplant mouse model
    • The interaction between human cancer cells and human CAF may not be evaluated appropriately because fibroblasts derived from the host mouse have infiltrated into transplanted tumor cells.
    • The number of fibroblasts is smaller than that of clinical tumors, and the form of tissue is greatly different from histopathological images in clinical practice.
  • Sample provision only to the client
Items to be Submitted


The client, Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd., is engaged in the development of drugs targeting cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF). Because CAF, one of the interstitial cells observed in many types of solid tumors, promotes cancer development by mutually interacting with tumor tissue, CAF-targeted therapies are actively promoted.

 To evaluate CAF-targeted drugs appropriately, assay system derived from a clinical sample, in which the interaction between human CAF and human cancer cells can be accurately reflected, need to be established. However, the client has yet to establish appropriate assay system due to problems in accessing and handling clinical samples.

Therefore, the client has issued this open request so as to discover a potential partner for collaboration in establishing assay system and evaluating the drug.


Notes on Response

Please describe the content of the proposal, focusing on the main requirements, and do not include confidential information. Please attach reference materials if necessary.


Evaluation Criteria

Evaluations for all proposals received will be performed by the client. The proposal is evaluated according to the following evaluation criteria.

  • Overview of the proposal/organization
  • Feasibility of fulfilling the target specifications
  • Economic feasibility
  • Potential ownership (exclusive rights, priority, etc.)
  • Related achievements


Anticipated Project Process

Respondents are required to submit proposals using the template.

The client will first perform a primary application screening for approximately 68 weeks. Additional questions and direct discussions will be given to promising proposals, and candidates will be selected for the final selection. In the selection process, the respondent and the client will conclude a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) as necessary to discuss further information disclosure and detailed development procedures.

After that, the client will conclude the necessary contracts with the respondent to establish the technology by demonstrating and developing the technology. The specific collaborative business framework will be determined through discussion.

Area of Interest