diabetes, nutrition, biophysics, immunology, neuroscience, drug discovery, radiation and biomedical imaging technologies. The committee’s commercial competence included venture-capital investment, drug discovery, start-up formation, and technology licensing. (Appendix A contains short biographical sketches of the committee members.)
Before appointment to the committee, prospective members were screened for a potential fiduciary or financial interest that they or their immediate family members might have had in any of the organizations and institutions involved in the proposals. At the start of its meeting on February 16-17, 2005, the committee held a discussion of bias and conflict of interest and reviewed its composition relative to the expertise needed for the assessment of the proposals. None of the committee members had a conflict of interest, and the balance and fairness of the review committee were determined to be sound.
The committee was charged with conducting a scientific review and examination of the commercial potential of the 14 proposals. It was asked to assess how well each proposal met the criteria of the awards program and to identify the proposals of greatest merit for consideration by the BRTT Commission for funding. The committee was also asked to rank the best proposals. Finally, the committee was asked to comment on Ohio’s request for proposals for the BRTT competition and to provide additional observations about the awards programs.
Each proposal was assigned to one and in some cases, two committee members as its primary reviewers according to relevant expertise. The program and business plans of each proposal were also reviewed by every other member of the committee; that is, the full committee membership was assigned as secondary reviewer for all proposals. The committee members who are venture capitalists were asked to focus on the business plans. Two external reviewers (Dr. Mark Saltzman of Yale University, and Dr. Craig Thompson of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine) provided additional comments on specific aspects of the scientific programs of several of the proposals. The reviewers were screened for potential conflicts of interest before receiving the proposals. All committee members were provided with the Ohio 2005 BRTT Request for Proposals (RFP), and evaluation criteria based on information in the RFP. All committee members were asked to score each proposal on each of the different criteria.
Prior to its February meeting, the committee held a conference call to talk about the review process generally and to discuss the weakest proposals as identified by committee members. During the meeting, the remaining proposals were evaluated in a multi-step process. First, the proposal scores were collated and presented to the committee. Then each proposal was presented by its primary reviewer(s) and discussed by the committee. Next, the committee grouped the proposals into two categories: proposals that had sufficient merit for further consideration by Ohio and proposals that were found to have significant shortcomings relative to the BRTT program criteria and