HHS-NIH-NCATS-SS-75N95020R00053 – Sources Sought – NCATS Collaborative Scientific Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Aug 8, 2020 | Sources Sought

This is a Sources Sought notice. This is NOT a solicitation for proposals, proposal abstracts, or quotations. The purpose of this notice is to obtain information regarding the availability and capability of all qualified sources to perform a potential requirement.

This notice is issued to help determine the availability of qualified companies technically capable of meeting the Government’s requirement and to determine the method of acquisition. It is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government to issue a solicitation or ultimately award a contract. Responses will not be considered as proposals or quotes. No award will be made as a result of this notice. The Government will NOT be responsible for any costs incurred by the respondents to this notice. This notice is strictly for research and information purposes only.

The Government is especially interested in determining (1) the availability of qualified small business sources; (2) whether they are small businesses; HUBZone small businesses; service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses; 8(a) small businesses; veteran-owned small businesses; woman-owned small businesses; or small disadvantaged businesses; and (3) their size classification relative to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code for the proposed acquisition. Your responses to the information requested will assist the Government in determining the appropriate acquisition method, including whether a set-aside is possible.

Background: The mission of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) is to transform the translational science process in order to get more treatments to more patients more rapidly. Critical to this mission is the ability to manage data, generate insights, and foster collaboration across National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutes and Centers and with external partners such as research hospitals, academic institutions, other government agencies, and industry stakeholders. NIH, NCATS, and NCATS collaborators are among the world’s leading researchers, and they have access to large, cutting-edge data sources. An increasingly complex challenge is to translate these disparate, ever-evolving data sets into actionable insights that accelerate the pace of science and clinical development. Tools are needed to enable teams to ask complex, multi-faceted questions and to collaborate more seamlessly and securely across various teams.

NCATS established the NCATS Collaborative Scientific Platform to integrate, manage, secure, and analyze data across the translational spectrum, from basic research through pre-clinical research, clinical research, clinical implementation, and public health improvements. This platform-as-a-service (PaaS) currently supports NCATS, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The Platform has integrated hundreds of live intramural and third-party data sources in support of dozens of ongoing, critical scientific projects that rely on continuous access, data, and analyses within the Platform. The Collaborative Scientific Platform is now the standard means for accessing and collaboratively analyzing NCATS screening data for dozens of investigators at both NCATS and NCI, and for accessing and analyzing RNASeq and several kinds of proteomics data at NCI. In 2018, the Platform extend its use to clinical applications supporting NCATS (the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) and Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN)), NCI, and PEPFAR.

The Collaborative Platform is a managed Platform-as-a-Service environment from Palantir, Inc., under IDIQ Contract number HHSN271201800020I, awarded in 2020, with task orders issued to support the requirements of individual groups.

Purpose and Objectives: Provide a collaborative translational research scientific platform as a service (PaaS) to integrate, manage, secure, and analyze data across the translational research spectrum.

Project requirements:

  1. A commercial software solution deployable on day one of the project and that can be configured within expedited timelines. Respondents must possess FedRAMP authorization so that an agency ATO can be granted upon award of a contract.
  2. An open data architecture, where data always remains under the full control of NCATS and can be easily exported in open, non-proprietary data formats via open APIs. The software should be built on an open, distributed microservices architecture with open, well-documented REST APIs that are designed to seamlessly interface with other systems, adapt to meet evolving needs, and avoid system lock-in.
  3. Proven data integration capabilities, including the ability to rapidly ingest unprocessed high-throughput drug screening (HTS) outputs, genomic data (including DNA sequencing, RNA-Seq, miRNA, etc.), mass spectrometry, flow cytometry, and other data types used in basic and translational biosciences research.
  4. The ability to maintain data and scientific provenance and reproducibility of all integrated data sources where every resource (dataset, analysis, code, plot, report) contains provenance, metadata, and can be both traced back to the exact version of all upstream dependencies, and where the dependency tree can be easily replayed given new data or updated analysis logic, while still retaining prior versions and branches.
  5. Dynamic data model, object-based search/discoverability and analysis workflows, allowing easy definition of objects, properties, and links that propagate from a source table, and provide natural ways to move between tabular and object-oriented interfaces and data analyses.
  6. Intuitive, highly configurable user interfaces that have been effectively utilized by technical bioinformaticians, cheminformaticians, and data scientists, as well as less technical biologists, chemists, and other scientists.
  7. Ability to perform advanced analytics and informatics in a user’s preferred coding language, as well as in non-code-based point and click tools, all within the same environment.
  8. Collaboration capabilities enabling teams comprising of a range of technical and less technical roles to work seamlessly and concurrently on the same data, build on insights, merge similar analytical paths, and track progress in one place.
  9. Ability to scale flexibly with increasing users, data, and pipeline complexity, while providing fine-grained ways to adjust resource consumption. Proven ability to scale up to thousands of users (including thousands of potential outside collaborators globally), petabytes of raw and processed data, daily updates in the terabytes, and complex bioinformatic pipelines requiring processing components developed in a variety of languages and environments.
  10. Proven granular, security controls with the ability for data owners to easily control all downstream uses of the originating data, and the ability to conform to NCATS security policies.
  11. Proven interoperability with NCATS current IT investment landscape, and includes omnipresent APIs and plugin points that allow the system to keep up with the changing needs of NCATS, and support both third-party software and other analytic applications. NCATS also requires the ability to independently develop new configurations, plugins, integrations, and extensions to meet new and unforeseen needs and interface with external systems.

Anticipated period of performance: The period of performance is anticipated to be one year.

Other important considerations: Detailed technical requirements are provided in the attached Technical Solution Requirements document. Do not address them individually in your capability statement, but be aware that these will be mandatory requirements in any solicitation that is issued.

Capability statement /information sought: Respondents must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM), and address the following questions:

  1. Provide your DUNS number, organization name, address, and point of contact. If your business is a small business, include your size and type of business (e.g., 8(a), HubZone, etc., SDVOSB, etc.) pursuant to the applicable NAICS code
  2. Provide a capability statement that addresses the project requirements listed above, with particular attention to the description of your commercial solution; information regarding your experience in providing a complex, integrated commercial solution; and general estimates regarding the length of time required to implement the solution. You need not address the attached Technical Solution Requirements in your capability statement; however, as noted, these requirements will be mandatory in any solicitation that is issued.
  3. Provide any other information that may be helpful in developing or finalizing the acquisition requirements.

The information submitted must be in an outline format that addresses each of the elements of the project requirement listed above. A cover page and an executive summary may be included but is not required. The response is limited to ten (10) pages not including a cover page or executive summary.

Responses must include your technical and administrative points of contact, including names, titles, addresses, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses.

All responses to this notice must be submitted electronically to Stuart Kern, Contract Specialist, at stuart.kern@nih.gov, and reference sources sought notice number 75N95020R00053.

The response must be received on or before Monday, August 17, 2020 at 9:00 a.m., Eastern Standard Time.

“Disclaimer and Important Notes: This notice does not obligate the Government to award a contract or otherwise pay for the information provided in response. The Government reserves the right to use information provided by respondents for any purpose deemed necessary and legally appropriate. Any organization responding to this notice should ensure that its response is complete and sufficiently detailed to allow the Government to determine the organization’s qualifications to perform the work.

Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. After a review of the responses received, a presolicitation synopsis and solicitation may be published in Federal Business Opportunities. However, responses to this notice will not be considered adequate responses to a solicitation.

Confidentiality: No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).”

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