RFP: CONTRACTOR TO CONDUCT FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR PILOT-SCALE BIOREACTOR/BIOPROCESSOR INNOVATION AND PRODUCTION CENTER IN THE ST. LOUIS REGION
This posting is a Request for Proposals for a Contractor to Conduct a Feasibility/Sustainability Study and Produce a Financial Pro Forma for a Pilot-Scale Bioreactor/Bioprocessor Innovation and Production Center in the St. Louis region
Deadline to apply is 5 p.m. CDT August 6, 2021
BioSTL seeks an entity or sole-proprietor individual (“Contractor”) to assist BioSTL and the regional innovation ecosystem in conducting a comprehensive survey/feasibility study related to understanding regional and national demand for a pilot plant focused on production, purification, and characterization of biomolecules. A secondary use of a portion of such a facility could be for workforce development - training of workers for large and small regional employers. The major outcome of this work will be a firm understanding, together with recommendations, to inform BioSTL and its partners’ decisions on current and future demand for such facilities across the St. Louis region. The results of the feasibility study will determine future phases of this work.
In consultation with BioSTL leadership, staff, and a Scientific Advisory Board comprising industry and community advisors, the Contractor will execute project deliverables including completion of the feasibility/sustainability study and production of a financial pro forma for the proposed facility. BioSTL expects to retain the Contractor over a 3-month period. Based on proposal approvals, the Contractor will be compensated on either an hourly basis or a fixed project rate. Please refer to Section IV for more details.
Since 2001, BioSTL has laid the foundation the innovation economy in St. Louis with a comprehensive set of transformational programs that advance the region’s leadership in solving important world challenges in agriculture, medicine, health care, and other technology areas. BioSTL has introduced nationally acclaimed initiatives in startup creation and investment via its investment arm, the BioGenerator, strategic business attraction via its GlobalSTL initiative, physical environment including the Cortex Innovation District and BioGenerator Labs, entrepreneur support including its Fundamentals program, seed and venture capital, a diverse and inclusive workforce, and public policy.
BioSTL has won a $2.96 million competitive grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce entitled the Center for National Pandemic Resiliency through Bioscience (“CPR”). The launch of this new center in St. Louis, with nearly $750,000 in matching funds from BioSTL, will position the region as a laboratory for innovation designed to help U.S. communities prevent, cure and recover from outbreaks of infectious disease and other health-related crises. The Center’s overall objectives are accelerating and piloting innovations that promote future pandemic response and recovery, while creating new economic opportunity, diversifying the local economy, and advancing health and economic equity. Specifically, the CPR has four pillars of activity, which will ultimately help establish St. Louis as a preferred destination for commercializing and piloting innovations in the field: 1) commercialization; 2) attracting global innovation; 3) workforce development; and 4) physical infrastructure.
The Pilot Plant evaluation is a key aspect of the physical infrastructure pillar. The ability to demonstrate commercial-scale viability at the transition point from bench scale to large-scale commercial manufacturing is critical to successfully bringing biomolecule products and therapies to market (e.g., cell and gene therapies, vaccines, enzymes, microbes, cell-based foods, microbials, alternative proteins produced via fermentation, fermentation scale up, etc.). Currently, the St. Louis region lacks the pilot-scale capability necessary to facilitate this growth and transition for biotech and ag/food-tech start-ups, not dissimilar to the situation generally across the U.S. Furthermore, local corporations engaged in scale-up biomanufacturing/bioprocessing report that they face significant challenges in training and retaining a skilled workforce due to the lack of available facilities.
The Pilot Plant was conceived to enable scale-up of biomolecules by regional startups, with the flexibility to leverage such a facility to meet unique needs arising in future pandemics. The feasibility study will help inform BioSTL and its partners – among them the Cortex Innovation District, 39 North, and St. Louis Economic Development Partnership – on the feasibility of the Pilot Plant and the region’s infrastructure needs in the field.
Specifically, the Contractor will provide the following services or other similar services during the 3-month study period.
Conduct a comprehensive survey/feasibility study to understand the regional need for a scale-up facility for Life Sciences-related companies developing biomolecules, with specific focus on economic, market, technical, financial, and management implications along with recommendations for implementation. Produce a financial pro forma for proposed facility and equipment/instrumentation, including “fit for purpose” scenarios for agricultural, food, industrial biotech, and/or pharmaceutical uses. Closely cooperate with the Scientific Advisory Board to incorporate guidance from key stakeholders and regional partners. Possible deliverables include:
These deliverables will inform BioSTL and its partners strategic decisions on future directions.
We anticipate most of this work being conducted virtually as scheduled by Contractor. As necessary, the Contractor may be able to access facilities and resources within the BioSTL building.
Applicants must provide separate technical and cost proposals.
Technical Proposal: Technical proposals must include the following information in the order specified.
A detailed description of Contractor’s approach to providing the requested services in Section III to BioSTL. If an entity with multiple staff, please include the names of each anticipated staff member and the estimated number of hours required of each. For individuals, please include the estimated number of hours required for each.
Qualifications narrative describing the assigned staff’s relevant expertise and experience that demonstrates their ability to advise BioSTL and execute the tasks outlined in Section III.
Three examples of the assigned staff’s experience within the past five years of executing related projects. Such examples must include a detailed description of project objectives and results, and a reference for each including a telephone number and e-mail address.
Cost Proposal: Contractor must supply a specific, discrete estimation of the total cost of the project – either as a fixed fee or a summation of hourly fees. With an hourly option, please provide the breakdown of hours for each staff member provided in the Contractor’s technical proposal, identify each member’s hourly rates and the total cost for the initial term, and indicate whether staff are employees or contractors. Additionally, identify each anticipated staff member’s hourly rate during potential renewal terms.
Responses to this Request for Proposals (RFP) will be evaluated using the following criteria with the associated weight.
Quality of Contractor’s approach to perform the tasks described in Section II (35%)
Qualifications of Contractor and any applicable assigned staff to perform the tasks described in Section II (25%)
Quality and relevance of the examples (20%)
Cost Proposal – reasonableness of the cost (20%)
Technical and cost proposals are due no later than August 6, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. CDT by e-mail to Elliott Kellner at Elliott.Kellner@gmail.com with the subject line “CPR Pilot Plant Feasibility Study RFP.” Please direct questions and confidential inquiries, in writing, to Elliott Kellner at the address above. BioSTL may request applicants with the top scores to meet with BioSTL management via video conferencing. If so, BioSTL will notify the selected applicants of the time and date. Furthermore, BioSTL reserves the right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to amend or modify any provision of this RFP, or to withdraw this RFP at any time prior to contract award. BioSTL shall not be bound by or liable under this RFP and/or any response thereto until a final written contract has been executed by BioSTL and the grantee incorporating the terms and conditions of the award.
BioSTL is committed to creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable ecosystem. We encourage submissions from diverse vendors who will bring diverse perspectives to this work including certified MBEs, WBEs, LGBT-owned businesses, VOBs, and SDVOBs.