DARPA Fold F(x) program to advance synthetic biomedical polymers

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said on Tuesday it is accepting proposals to advance "Folded Non-Natural Polymers with Biological Function" under a new program.

DARPA said the biopharmaceutical industry has significant technical gaps that prevent addressing the gamut of national security threats in Department of Defense medicine.

DARPA said purpose of the new Fold F(x) program is to "develop processes that enable rapid synthesis, screening, sequencing and scale-up of folded, non-natural, sequence-defined polymers with expanded functionality."

Broad use of folded non-natural polymers is limited because there is not an approach for rapidly developing and screening large libraries. Fold F(x) will bridge the gap to create new entities, which will become reagents in sensor and diagnostic applications, medicine leads against viral and bacterial threats, and new materials for future material science applications.

Successful proposals will include new synthetic approaches that produce large libraries of polymers, flexible screening strategies that allow the selection of binders and catalysts from libraries, a demonstration that the screening approach will rapidly produce affinity reagents or catalysts against DoD-selected targets and scalability and transferability to DoD scientific community.

DARPA said it is looking for proposals that move the area of non-natural polymer synthesis, screening and sequencing forward.