A new round of the PoC programm by KWF will start soon!

Last year, KWF has launched the Proof of Concept (PoC) program. The aim is to facilitate and accelerate the process of making an academic research invention available to the patient. It does so by inviting researchers to think about necessary steps towards implementation of their invention ahead of time.  

 Access to the program is currently only upon invitation by KWF.

The Proof of Concept (PoC) programme

The challenge
Patient benefit is the ultimate goal of cancer research. Donations enable researchers to perform their research, but they also come with a responsibility: to translate research inventions into applications
and solutions that can be used in (clinical) practice and that will be implemented on a large scale. As this goes far beyond generating publishable results, it can be challenging for researchers as it requires
a different approach and a different set of skills. By thinking about the future potential, positioning and/or reimbursement of a research invention already at an early stage and by mapping the route
towards health care practice in time, the chances of successful implementation will be substantially increased.

The opportunity – the Proof of Concept programme
The aim of the Proof of Concept (PoC) programme is to facilitate and accelerate the process of making an academic research invention available to the patient. It does so by inviting researchers to think
about necessary steps towards implementation of their invention ahead of time. The PoC programme aids the researchers in setting up a detailed roadmap and to define the future clinical, commercial or
societal value of a research invention, to explore the market potential and to clarify the position and strategy of intellectual property rights. It will also help to get a clear idea about the positioning of the
invention in relation to similar techniques or current clinical practice, to gain insights into the clinical usability, and to identify and get in touch with potential (commercial) partners and stakeholders.
Finally, the PoC programme provides financial support for several expenses that are necessary to bring forward the inventions beyond the scope of a regular KWF grant.

The research invention needs to fulfil the following criteria in order to be eligible for the PoC programme:
➢ The PoC proposal must supplement an ongoing KWF project and finish within the remaining term of the current KWF project.
➢ The associated KWF project is in an early research phase e.g., credentialing, creation of modality or pre-clinical.
➢ The invention shows promising first results, but is not yet ready to be implemented in clinical practice.
➢ The invention is at a stage in which it is crucial to start lining out the route towards implementation, to think about possible hurdles and to get in touch with the necessary stakeholders or a commercial partner.

The application procedure
Application forms can only be filled in upon invitation from KWF. The first step for the researcher is to fill in the pre-proposal form`(max. two A4 pages) in order to have a brief summary of the
application checked for eligibility. The pre-proposal will be evaluated by KWF and (part of) the PoC Advisory panel.

After being invited by KWF to write a full proposal, the researcher must obtain commitment of the local technology transfer office (TTO) from the research institute. Together with the TTO, the
researcher will conduct a quick screen to evaluate the patentability of the invention and the valorisation potential. Thereafter, with input from the TTO, the researcher will fill in the full proposal
form. In the full proposal, the researcher will be asked to elaborate on the following points:
➢ Clinical relevance
➢ Detailed description of the invention
➢ Roadmap towards implementation
➢ Requested budget

1) If any steps of the PoC application will be performed with the help of an external party/service provider, the TTO always needs to be informed about this.
2) In case the TTO does not want to proceed with the technique after an initial screen, the researcher is requested to contact the programme coordinator at KWF to discuss possible next steps.

A budget of in total 150 000 Euro is available for several parts of the PoC programme (only if applicable for the further development of the invention):
➢ IP strategy*1  (only in exceptional case). Indication: 10 000 Euro
➢ Additional experiments*2. Indication: 120 000 Euro
➢ Additional expertise*3. Indication: 10 000 Euro
➢ Business case*4. Indication: 10 000 Euro
In all cases where budget is required, a substantiation and quotes need to be provided.

*1 The costs to receive and maintain the patent or to protect the invention need to be borne by the research institute (or other stakeholders). In exceptional cases with valid reasoning, a budget can be requested in this proposal (e.g. for the preparation, filing an application for an IP right, when no company is involved and/or the invention is beyond the expertise of the TTO).

*2 Possibility to apply for funding for essential experiments that are necessary to define the roadmap towards implementation (e.g. small side studies concerning toxicity, or to strengthen an IP position or patent application, to make the technique suitable for the IVDR, or to enable commercialization). Larger (prospective) validation studies are not suitable for the PoC programme, but can be submitted to the regular KWF PO&I calls.

*3 Possibility to apply for funding to perform an (early) health technology assessment by consulting an in-house HTA specialist or via a third (commercial) party (please visit our website for examples of potential parties https://www.kwf.nl/onderzoek/toolkitonderzoek). Another possibility isto hire someone who has experience with the development of similar inventions (e.g. a business developer or someone from a company who has gone through the same process). One can also apply for someone with a business (developer) profile who will help with analysing the market (only if this cannot be done by the TTO) or with presenting the invention to potential (commercial) partners. This includes making of communication material (pitch deck, LinkedIn profile, animations, website, folders etc.) or communication training. The TTO can provide support in finding the right party/person.

*4 Funding for this part can be used to develop a detailed business case which illustrates the route towards implementation of the invention in the market or in practice/care. The steps that need to be taken towards setting up a business case and/or to finding the right party that can assist with that first needs to be discussed with the TTO. Parties that can help you could be related companies or health care ventures, examples of which can be found on our website.
Please provide a plan how/with whom the business case will be set up and describe the budget for FTE’s, materials or service providers.

Review and decision
The information provided in the PoC application will be evaluated by the PoC Advisory panel consisting of experts fromdifferent perspectives: business developers, investors, people form industry, scientists,
clinicians, HTA specialist and head of a clinical laboratory. KWF reserves the right to assess further details during an interview/presentation.
If (funding for) the PoC programme is granted, the project leader will receive a grant decision letter, including an attachment containing an overview of the approved budget, the review and feedback from the PoC Advisory panel and the terms and conditions. The terms and conditions consist of the KWF Funding conditions and the KWF Audit protocol and will be applicable as from the signature date of the funding contract. In case the (funding of the) PoC application is not granted, the project leader will receive a decision letter with the justification/feedback of the PoC Advisory panel.
The PoC programme is an addition to the already existing project grants (Young Investigator Grant, Research project or Consortium Project) that can be applied for within the KWF programme Research & Implementation (PO&I) and the existing terms and conditions of the Dutch Cancer Society of that project apply.

Planning PoC call 2022
Deadline pre-proposal 15th of April 2022 12:00 CET
Decision pre-proposal Beginning of May 2022
Deadline full proposal 5 th of July 2022 12:00 CET
Decision full proposal Late October 2022