AR Health Ventures Accelerator Announces Support for Therapeutic Development Projects

The AR Health Ventures Accelerator (ARHVA) is pleased to announce this Request for Applications (RFA) to solicit proposals for innovative therapeutic development projects. ARHVA aims to facilitate and accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries into therapies to improve the health and safety of Arkansans and patient care. Through this RFA, ARHVA intends to identify and support projects that bridge the gap between investigator-driven research and commercialization.


The mission of BioVentures is to foster commercial investment in inventions, discoveries, and work products arising from research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and the local VA Hospital. The research funding received by these institutions aims to advance biomedical discoveries and transform them into therapeutic strategies that improve the health and well-being of Arkansans and agents that benefit patients. However, a significant challenge lies in advancing hypothesis-driven research to the development of clinically useful products. The ARHVA program seeks to address this gap by providing consultancy, guidance, and resources to accelerate therapeutics and drug discovery from target identification to commercialization.


The primary objectives of the AR Health Ventures Accelerator program are as follows:

  1. Accelerate scientific discoveries from concept to a position where the drug or therapeutic can becommercialized.
  2. Cultivate the next generation of Arkansas biotechnology workers and entrepreneurs through pioneeringtraining programs and biotechnology experiences.
  3. Enhance the Little Rock and Arkansas biotechnology ecosystem by fostering academic, government, andindustry collaborations.

ARHVA Innovative Approach to Therapeutic Development

The AR Health Ventures Accelerator program will employ the following approaches to drive therapeutic development:

  1. a)  Consultancy and guidance: ARHV A will provide extensive biotechnology experience to assist investigators/inventors in advancing their therapeutic ideas.
  2. b)  External Advisory Committee: ARHVA will establish an outstanding external advisory committee comprising patent lawyers, basic scientists, and clinicians with biotechnology management/consulting experience. The committee will offer independent advice and expertise to guide therapeutic projects.
  3. c)  ARHVA Projects: Projects will be selected through a competitive process by the independent advisory committee. ARHVA will oversee project execution, expenditure, and progress tracking. Regular feedback on project milestones will be provided to investigators/inventors, BioVentures, and the External Advisory Committee.
  4. d)  Infrastructure utilization: ARHVA will leverage existing facilities, infrastructure, and resources at BioVentures, UAMS, Arkansas academic institutions, and biotechnology companies to execute projects.
  5. e)  De-risking discoveries: ARHVA’s approach focuses on de-risking and increasing the commercial value of health enhancing and disease targeted therapeutics by addressing critical developmental steps. This process continues until sufficient data, information, and value are achieved for licensing, partnering, or launching a start-up.

August 17th, 2023

Eligibility Criteria

All UAMS employees are eligible to apply for an ARHVA award. This includes trainees and postdoctoral fellows. At this time, this award is not open to individuals who are not employed by UAMS.

Application Process

Interested investigators/inventors are invited to submit project proposals aligned with the goals and approaches of the ARHVA program. The application should include the following information:

  • Project title and summary (max 300 words)
  • Investigator/inventor(s) information, including contact details
  • Project description, objectives, and anticipated impact and alignment with the goals of the ARHVAprogram (max of 1 page)
  • Expected outcomes and milestones (max of 1 page)
  • Budget breakdown, including requested funds and potential external funding sources. Max of $50,000provided from ARHVA
  • Timeline for project executionApplications must be submitted electronically to by 5 PM, September 29th, 2023. Late applications will not be considered.

Review and Selection Process:

  • All applications will undergo a rigorous review process by the ARHVA External Advisory Committee. Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
  • Scientific merit and feasibility
  • Alignment with the goals and approaches of the ARHVA program
  • Potential for commercialization and impact on patient care
  • Budget justification and potential for external funding
  • The highest-scoring proposals will be recommended for funding, considering the available budget. Thefinal selection will be made by ARHVA leadership.

Important Dates:

  • RFA release date: August 17th, 2023
  • Application submission deadline: 5 PM, September 29th, 2023
  • Funding decision announcement: November 3rd, 2023

Contact Information:

For questions or further information regarding this RFA, please contact: Name: Stefanie Kennon-McGill, Ph.D.
Phone: 501-686-8928We look forward to receiving your innovative project proposals that will contribute to the acceleration of therapeutic development and improve patient care.Sincerely,
John Imig, Ph.D.
Chair of Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences UAMS College of Pharmacy

AR Health Ventures Accelerator (ARHVA) Frequently Asked Questions



Award Mechanism: