Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Open

Technology for Selection of “Human Olfactory Receptors” that Respond to Specific Aroma

Request Number
Due Date
Feb 7
Program Manager


Joint/contract research and development, licensing



Phase 1: Verification through sample testing within half a year

Phase 2: Establishment of technology within 1 year after the completion of Phase 1



Budget for establishment of technology already secured (Details to be negotiated based on proposal)


How to  Apply
  • Click "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.
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RFP Title


Technology for Selection of “Human Olfactory Receptors” that Respond to Specific Aroma
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing Suntory Global Innovation Center Ltd., seeks techniques for quickly and exhaustively selecting human olfactory receptors that respond to specific aroma.

Various approaches are welcome as proposals, not limited to common techniques using cells.

Key Success Criteria

Technological requirements


  • Capable of selecting receptors that respond to specific aroma from about 400 human olfactory receptors as exhaustively as possible
  • Prospects for practical use of the selection technique
  • Capable of evaluating response intensities of each receptor (on a three- or more-grade scale: strong/medium/weak)


  • Desirable to be applicable to odor components in the gas
  • High throughput
  • Low threshold of responses
Possible Approaches

Possible approaches

The Client expects technological approaches such as the following, but is open to others:

  • Human olfactory receptor expression cell array
  • Fluorescence intensity evaluation system using human olfactory receptors
  • Cell-free approach
  • Approach that use biological mechanism such as biological membrane (including ribosome)
Items to be Submitted


The Client, Suntory Global Innovation Center Ltd., aims to develop substitutional materials for specific aroma in beverages and food.

About 400 types of human olfactory receptors are involved in the mechanism of human perception of aroma, and the aroma characteristics are determined by the response pattern and the response intensity of each receptor. The Client wants to screen substitutional materials for specific aroma by using a system that can quickly and exhaustively evaluate the intensities of response to those aromas in human olfactory receptors.

Despite strenuous efforts to establish the evaluation system, techniques for practical use has not been developed.

The Client therefore decided to globally recruit technology proposals to identify organizations that ambitiously collaborate to develop and commercialize the aforementioned techniques.


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