Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. Boston Children’s Hospital and Astellas have formed an alliance to identify and fund promising research to advance novel therapeutics.

For this round of proposals, Boston Children’s Hospital and Astellas invite proposals that are focused on development of mRNA-based therapeutics for novel application.

For More Information, Please Contact:
Tamar Alon, Director of Business Development and Strategic Alliances at


  • Any principal investigator performing research at and employed by Boston Children’s Hospital
  • There are no restrictions on the number of proposals one applicant can submit

Areas of Interest

  • Development of mRNA-based therapy

Out of Scope

  • Therapeutic approaches focused on Cancer, Infectious diseases, or Rare diseases.
  • Research directed towards different therapeutic applications other than mRNA, such as AAV, small molecule, antibody, etc.

Principal investigators who do not have access or expertise to prepare mRNA therapeutic materials may also submit proposals. Astellas can provide such materials for in vivo or in vitro validation upon request.

Application Timeline

  • Pre-proposal due to TIDO–September 17, 2021
  • Announcement of selected pre-proposals invited to full proposal stage– October 15, 2021
  • Full proposal due to TIDO–November 15, 2021
  • Notification of selected projects for funding–January 3, 2022
  • Initiation of Funding–April 2022

Deerfield has pledged up to $65 million with the goal of facilitating the translation and commercialization of novel biomedical research at Boston Children’s Hospital through a new collaboration called Blackfan Circle Innovations. Through Blackfan Circle, Boston Children’s Hospital scientists have the opportunity to submit therapeutic proposals for potential funding.

Deerfield will provide research funding and operational support in product development and commercialization to co-develop the jointly-selected research therapeutic candidates with the goal of achieving Investigational New Drug (IND) readiness. Successful projects that reach IND-enabled status may receive additional funding.

We would like to invite BCH investigators to begin the submission process to Blackfan Circle Innovations, the newly established entity created to accelerate research at BCH.

Areas of Interest:

  • Broad interest across all therapeutic areas and modalities
  • Early-stage projects with potential to progress to IND-enabled status, early clinical development, and human proof-of-concept

Proposal Process:

  • Proposal Concept Sheet
  • Letter of Intent
  • Full Proposal and Presentation

In order to engage initial interest with Blackfan Circle Innovations, TIDO encourages BCH investigators to submit one or more Proposal Concept Sheet(s), each of which will constitute a brief overview of the proposed project focusing on the areas listed below.

  • Genetic Evidence
  • Biologic Rationale
  • Preclinical Execution
  • Unmet Need
  • Clinical Development (if applicable)
  • Novelty/ Differentiation

A Proposal Concept Sheet submission template will be provided by TIDO. For more information on proposal submission to Blackfan Circle Innovations, a copy of the Proposal Concept Sheet, or questions related to the application process, please contact Sabrina Kamran, Strategic Alliance Manager at

If your Proposal Concept Sheet is selected for advancement, you will be asked to complete a Letter of Intent with a more detailed description of the proposed project. Finally, at the Full Proposal stage of evaluation, you will be asked to submit a detailed research plan and budget and meet with the Deerfield review team to discuss your proposal. Deerfield Discovery and Development experts will be available to consult with you on your proposal throughout the entire evaluation process.

Who Can Apply:

  • Full-time BCH Principal Investigators
  • Principal Investigators with faculty appointment who are subject to Boston Children’s policies regarding the conduct of research and ownership of intellectual property


Proposal Concept Sheets submitted to Blackfan Circle Innovations will be considered on a rolling basis, with operational and scientific guidance and support from TIDO during the submission process.