By Julie Hu

In July 2014, Attain was awarded a five-year, $50.2 million CIO-SP3 task order to provide bioinformatics and related support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI). This task order was awarded as a small business set-aside and will end (assuming that there are no extensions) in July 2019. This means that there is ample time to evaluate and break down this opportunity for your firm’s pipeline.

What does this contract do?

This contract provides informatics and IT services for the NCI Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology (CBIIT) Cloud Resources, previously referred to as the Cancer Genomics Cloud (CGC) Pilots. The NCI Cloud Resources consists of three CGC platforms: Broad FireCloud, Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) CGC, and the Seven Bridges (SB) CGC.

What is the customer’s goal for this procurement?

Ultimately, the goal of this contract is to help NCI researchers and end-users to more effectively access cloud-based cancer genomic, microbiome, metagenomic, and microbe, proteomics, and imaging data. While bioinformatics and IT support are the core of this contract, definitely expect to provide training and outreach support to further help NIH researchers and end-users to better understand and use these resources.

What does the technology look like in the program?

Supporting this work will require experience with bioinformatics, NIH-wide databases and analytical tools, and programming languages such as R, Python, and Shell script. Anyone pursuing this work will also have to be well versed with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud, which are both used on the CGC platforms. NCI also leverages specialized platforms such as the Genomic Data Commons (GDC) platform for Bioconductor (an R-based software for the analysis of genomic data).

Who’s Who in the Zoo

The NCI Informatics Support contract was originally awarded to Attain as a Small Business set-side. The incumbent is no longer a small business but is still on the CIO-SP3 Small Business vehicle as an “Other Than Small Business.” Whether this change in status becomes a limitation to a company’s ability to Prime the contract will depend on the decisions of the contracting office.

Take a look at the table below of CIO-SP3 Small Business contract holders that have meaningful, funded work at NIH today.

NIH Prime Contract Obligations by Fiscal Year
Contractor Name 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Total
Medical Science & Computing $54,390,888 $75,327,411 $66,749,123 $103,164,033 $152,916,622 $452,548,077
Net Esolutions Corporation $21,607,634 $30,589,950 $33,751,944 $39,854,705 $48,817,256 $174,621,489
Information Management Services $27,137,515 $32,383,955 $29,017,668 $33,908,823 $37,603,243 $160,051,205
Digital Infuzion $11,473,063 $14,429,313 $15,270,624 $33,357,328 $17,579,474 $92,109,802
LCG System $11,791,398 $15,502,984 $16,186,070 $15,564,643 $18,581,728 $77,626,823
Capital Surini Group Internationa $8,925,968 $10,682,316 $15,338,882 $15,797,121 $16,638,497 $67,382,785
Attain $3,950,826 $11,741,446 $10,931,280 $6,306,585 $9,173,103 $42,103,239
Soft Tech Consulting $8,625,034 $4,645,282 $3,689,295 $8,129,744 $7,636,026 $32,725,381
Tista Science and Technology Corporation $4,406,047 $4,900,843 $2,071,686 $5,280,703 $7,068,035 $23,727,315
22nd Century Team $0 ($500) $0 $6,023,525 $13,246,417 $19,269,442

Observations on the Opportunity

This is an opportunity to provide bioinformatics, IT, and other support services for end-users across the NCI and NIH user community. The steady and growing contract spending trend suggest that the work will not diminish anytime soon, and a contractor would gain a foothold inside of a major NIH resource and IT system.

As you make the decision whether or not to pursue this opportunity, evaluate whether this mission aligns with your capabilities and the type of work you want to pursue. How does the customer mission line up with your mission?

Takeaways and starting actions:

  • What kind of work is being done?The work performed provides the NCI Cloud Resources with informatics, IT, and general program management support for cloud-based databases, analytical tools, and applications.
  • What is this worth?As of March 2018, the contract has been obligated $15.3 million under a $50.2 million ceiling. If the contract continues at its current rate of spending, we expect the contract to be worth around $20 million by the end of the 5-year period of performance.
  • What are the trends?This contract has steadily grown in value every year, at an average annual increase of 18%. The average annual spending on the contract is $3.8 million, but this value may rise if the contract spending continues its upward trend.
  • Explore customer and the technology used – Does this fit your business and what you can do?
  • What to do next – If you cannot pursue this as a Prime, can you enable another Prime to win?

Stay focused. Do your capture homework. There are some great opportunities out there. Good hunting!

This analysis was written by Julie Hu. Julie is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Her professional experience has been focused on market research, competitive intelligence, and business development support for large and small Government contractor clients at FedSavvy Strategies.  

© FedSavvy Strategies and FedSavvy Strategies blog, 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to FedSavvy Strategies and FedSavvy Strategies blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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