Ono Pharma Foundation
Ono Pharma Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions


Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (“Ono”) is a leading global healthcare company committed to delivering new, innovative drugs to patients and championing the fight against disease and pain. Ono carries out these goals in cooperation with researchers, patients, their families, and healthcare providers.

Ono established the Ono Pharma Foundation to carry out the Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program (“Ono Initiative”), a competitive Awards program to support scientific research projects throughout the United States and the subject of these Frequently Asked Questions. The Ono Initiative is the embodiment of Ono’s commitment to focus on and accelerate researcher-driven open innovation by supporting high-risk and high-reward science research projects, which have potential to lead to science discoveries/solutions and, possibly, based on further research, to breakthrough treatments for patients.

What is the goal of the Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program?

The purpose of the Ono Initiative is to support scientist Principal Investigators (“PIs”) with creative ideas in selected scientific research fields with the mission of seeking discoveries/solutions and development of high impact science.

The goals of the Ono Initiative are to:

  • Identify and develop innovative research proposals and results that could lead to the development of breakthrough treatment solutions for patients.
  • Support academic research and the career development of promising young and established scientists.
  • Build strong relationships within the community in order to lead to transformative research aligned with Ono Initiative's interest.

What is the length of this award?

Each Award may last three years.

What is the funding level of these Awards?

Awards will consist of annual funding of $300,000/year, totaling a maximum of $900,000 for the normal term of a research project. The Ono Pharma Foundation will provide up to a maximum of an additional 15% ($45,000) per year of the funding to be used for indirect costs of the PI’s institution. The total amount of the grant for three year research would be up to $1,035,000.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must meet the following requirements. LOIs and final Proposals from applicants not meeting the requirements listed below will not be considered.

  • PIs applying Chemical Biology area must be working at one of the nominating institutions. Nominating institutions might be replaced or added to in subsequent years. 
  • PIs applying Oligonucleotide Medicine research area must be working in the United States or Canada.
  • The PI must have a MD and/or a PhD degree.
  • The PI may not already be engaged in other sponsored research with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and/or grant program with Ono Pharma Foundation.
  • The PI may not apply for funding to amplify current work. However, PIs may research a new idea based on a prior findings of the PI.
  • More detail as to eligibility criteria can be found in the “Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program: Program Information & Overview” document.

Which are the Nominating Institutions?

2019 Applicant Nominating Institutions in Chemical Biology Research *

  1. Baylor University
  2. Boston College
  3. Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT
  4. California Institute of Technology
  5. Columbia University
  6. Cornell University
  7. Emory University
  8. Harvard University
  9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  10. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  11. Northwestern University
  12. Princeton University
  13. Rice University
  14. Stanford University
  15. The Rockefeller University
  16. The Scripps Research Institute
  17. The University of Texas -Southwestern Medical Center 
  18. University of California – Berkeley
  19. University of California – Davis
  20. University of California – Irvine
  21. University of California – Los Angeles
  22. University of California – San Diego
  23. University of California – San Francisco
  24. University of Chicago
  25. University of Colorado – Boulder
  26. University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign
  27. University of Michigan
  28. University of Minnesota
  29. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  30. University of Texas – Austin
  31. University of Utah
  32. University of Washington
  33. University of Wisconsin – Madison
  34. Vanderbilt University
  35. Weill Cornell Medicine
  36. Whitehead Institute
  37. Yale University

*Each Nominating Institution may nominate up to two (2) applicants in Chemical Biology Research.

2019 Applicant Nominating Institutions in Oligonucleotide Medicine Research**

All institutions in the US and Canada equivalent to the US 501(c)(3) entity.

**No limitation on the number of nominated applicants in Oligonucleotide Medicine Research.

What are the research requirements?

Applicants/PIs are expected to:

  • Design studies to generate novel science to address at least one of the Scientific Research Areas of interest. The scientific Research Areas of Interest for 2019 are:
    • Chemical Biology
    • Oligonucleotide Medicine
  • The Chemical Biology is defined as research that deals with the interface between chemistry and biology.
  • The Oligonucleotide Medicine is defined as groundbreaking work using synthetic oligonucleotides to gain broadly valuable insights into molecular mechanisms, delivery strategies, pharmacology, or physiologic targets.
  • Complete the full two step application process which is: (i) submission of a Letter of Interest, and, (ii) if selected, to submit a full Proposal within the time designated by the Ono Pharma Foundation.

What are the Selection Criteria?

Applicants/PIs are expected to:

Design studies to generate novel science to address at least one of the Scientific Research Areas of interest. The scientific Research Areas of Interest for 2019 are:

  1. Chemical Biology: Target research of Chemical Biology is not specified. Chemical Biology is defined as research that deals with the interface between chemistry and biology. The criteria for this field is deliberately broad so as not to disqualify potentially innovative and groundbreaking projects.
  2. Oligonucleotide Medicine: Target research of Oligonucleotide Medicine is defined as "Groundbreaking work using synthetic oligonucleotides to gain broadly valuable insights into molecular mechanisms, delivery strategies, pharmacology, or physiologic targets". A combined proposal with oligonucleotide medicine and appropriate area of biology would also be accepted.

Complete the two step application process which is: (i) submission of a Letter of Interest, and, (ii) if selected, to submit a full Proposal within the time designated by the Ono Pharma Foundation.

What is the application process?

There are different application processes for each scientific research area:

  1. LOI in Chemical Biology Research: PIs should first contact the administration office of their Institution. Institutions will be asked to nominate PIs, but only the PI may submit LOIs and Proposals. An LOI should be submitted through the Ono Pharma Foundation online portal. To access the website, please click on the link below, select “Submit a Request,” and follow the online instructions. If this is your first time visiting the portal, you will be sent your login information within 48 hours of submitting your “Registration”.
  2. LOI in Oligonucleotide Medicine Research: Your LOI should be submitted through the Ono Pharma Foundation website. To access the website, please click on the link below, select “Submit a Request,” and follow the online instructions. If this is your first time visiting the portal, you will be sent your login information within 48 hours of submitting your “Registration”.

The common application process is described below:

  • Proposal submission by LOI applicants and selected by a Scientific Advisory Board will be invited by the Ono Pharma Foundation to submit a full Proposal. The Proposal must be submitted through the Ono Pharma Foundation Portal. Please access the Application Portal on Ono Pharma Foundation website.
  • More detail as to the application process can be found in the “Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program: Program Information & Overview” document.

Please see below for links to the Ono Pharma Foundation website and application portal:

  • Website: www.onofound.org
  • Application Portal: https://ono.fluxx.io

How will I know if I am invited to submit a full proposal?

The Ono Pharma Foundation will make an announcement about LOI reviews and send Request for Proposal (“RFP”) to selected PI/Applicants on May 1, 2019. RFPs will be made based on:

  • Eligibility of Applicant;
  • Completion of Research Requirements;
  • Strength of proposed project against Selection Criteria.

What is the timetable?

StepTimelineResponsible Party
Funding Opportunity Program AnnouncementDue: December 3, 2018Responsible Party:
Ono Pharma Foundation
LOI submission openDue: December 3, 2018Responsible Party:
Ono Pharma Foundation
LOI submission due dateDue: February 28, 2019, 5pm ET *Responsible Party:
PI/ Institution
Request for Proposal (“RFP”) sent outDue: May 1, 2019Responsible Party:
Ono Pharma Foundation
Proposal due dateDue: May 31, 2019, 5pm ET *Responsible Party:
PI
Announcement of the AwardsDue: July 15, 2019Responsible Party:
Ono Pharma Foundation
Project StartDue: August - October, 2019Responsible Party:
PI

*Addenda, supplemental materials, changes, or updates will not be accepted after the deadline for submitting either the LOI or the Proposal.

**As a US private foundation, Ono Pharma Foundation grants to Canadian institutions are conditioned on an equivalency determination by the Foundation. This may require additional documentation and information from the institution outside of the application process.

How many Awards are given?

Five Awards are planned for 2019, contingent upon Ono Pharma Foundation appropriations and the submission of sufficient meritorious applications.

Who will make the decisions about the Awardees?

The Ono Pharma Foundation selects all Awardees based upon recommendations of its Scientific Advisory Board (“SAB”), which is comprised of outside experts from the fields of Chemical Biology and Oligonucleotide Medicine.

How is the SAB selected?

The members of the SAB are selected by Ono Pharma Foundation based upon their expertise and reputation in the fields of Chemical Biology and Oligonucleotide Medicine.

Who is TCC Group?

Formed in 1980, TCC Group provides strategic planning, program development, evaluation and management consulting services to foundations, nonprofit organizations, corporate community involvement programs, and government agencies. Its consulting staff includes individuals with wide-ranging expertise and experience in a diverse range of issues including education, arts and culture, community and economic development, human services, health care, children and family issues, and the environment. TCC Group is providing ongoing support for Ono Pharma Foundation.