B-159675, OCT. 21, 1966

B-159675: Oct 21, 1966

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THE CONTRACT WAS ENTERED INTO ON JUNE 30. YOUR FIRST CONTENTION IS THAT. SINCE YOUR ORGANIZATION IS NOT A COMMERCIAL FIRM. WERE UNAWARE OF THE SOLICITATION FOR BIDS UNTIL THREE DAYS PRIOR TO THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE OF APRIL 18. YOUR REQUEST FOR DELAY OF THE CLOSING DATE WAS REFUSED ON THE GROUNDS OF A DESIRE FOR EXPEDITIOUS AWARD. SALES AND CONTRACT AWARDS" WHICH WAS DONE IN THIS INSTANCE. THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT FOR SPECIAL NOTIFICATION TO BE GIVEN TO NONCOMMERCIAL ORGANIZATIONS. YOU WERE FURNISHED A BID UPON REQUEST AND SUBMITTED THE THIRD LOWEST OF NINE PROPOSALS. IT IS YOUR CONTENTION THAT NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION IS FULLY CAPABLE OF DOING THE WORK INASMUCH AS YOU HAVE BEEN DEVELOPING THE REQUIRED HIGH SPEED SCANNING INSTRUMENTATION UNDER GRANTS FROM NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH.

B-159675, OCT. 21, 1966

TO NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION:

YOUR TELEFAX, DATED JULY 12, 1966, AND LETTER OF JULY 13, 1966, PROTESTED THE AWARD TO PERKIN-ELMER CORPORATION OF CONTRACT NO. PH 43 66-1159,"STUDY TO DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF INSTRUMENTATION CONCEPTS OF AUTORADIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION FROM PERIPHERAL BLOOD AND BONE MARROW PREPARATIONS AND OTHER TISSUES," IN CONNECTION WITH RESEARCH BY THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE.

THE CONTRACT WAS ENTERED INTO ON JUNE 30, 1966, AFTER SOLICITATION OF BIDS IN THE COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY (SYNOPSIS NO. 36) ON MARCH 22, 1966, AS REQUIRED BY FPR 1-1.1003-2. YOUR FIRST CONTENTION IS THAT, SINCE YOUR ORGANIZATION IS NOT A COMMERCIAL FIRM, YOU DO NOT REGULARLY READ THE COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY, AND WERE UNAWARE OF THE SOLICITATION FOR BIDS UNTIL THREE DAYS PRIOR TO THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE OF APRIL 18, 1966, WHICH HAD BEEN EXTENDED FROM APRIL 11. YOUR REQUEST FOR DELAY OF THE CLOSING DATE WAS REFUSED ON THE GROUNDS OF A DESIRE FOR EXPEDITIOUS AWARD. FPR.1- 1.1003-2 PROVIDES FOR SYNOPSIZING OF THE PROCUREMENT IN THE "COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY, SYNOPSIS OF U.S. GOVERNMENT PROPOSED PROCUREMENT, SALES AND CONTRACT AWARDS" WHICH WAS DONE IN THIS INSTANCE. THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT FOR SPECIAL NOTIFICATION TO BE GIVEN TO NONCOMMERCIAL ORGANIZATIONS. YOU WERE FURNISHED A BID UPON REQUEST AND SUBMITTED THE THIRD LOWEST OF NINE PROPOSALS, SO YOU APPARENTLY HAD SUFFICIENT TIME TO PREPARE YOUR PROPOSAL.

IT IS YOUR CONTENTION THAT NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION IS FULLY CAPABLE OF DOING THE WORK INASMUCH AS YOU HAVE BEEN DEVELOPING THE REQUIRED HIGH SPEED SCANNING INSTRUMENTATION UNDER GRANTS FROM NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH. YOU STATE THAT YOU HAVE CONSTRUCTED FULLY OPERABLE SCANNING INSTRUMENTS FOR YOUR OWN USE AND FOR TWO OTHER SCIENTIFIC LABORATORIES, AND THAT SINCE PERKIN-ELMER HAS NOT YET DELIVERED SCANNING INSTRUMENTS TO ITS CONTRACTORS, NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL CAN BETTER FULFILL THE PURPOSES OF THE CONTRACT. FINALLY, YOU CONTEND THAT THE DIFFERENCE IN COST BETWEEN PERKIN-ELMER ($57,553) AND NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL ($22,864) IS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR. AS TO THIS LATTER POINT, THE AGENCY ADVISES THAT COST WAS NOT CONTROLLING BUT IMPORTANCE WAS PLACED UPON WHICH PROPOSAL SUBMITTED WOULD BEST FULFILL THE PURPOSES OF THE PROCUREMENT.

IN RESPONSE TO THE ALLEGATION THAT NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL HAS ALREADY CONSTRUCTED SCANNING INSTRUMENTS, THE AGENCY POINTS OUT THAT THIS SCANNING INSTRUMENT DOES NOT INCLUDE THE CAPABILITY FOR CELL RECOGNITION AND AUTOMATED COUNTING OF GRAINS. FURTHERMORE, WITH RESPECT TO THE COMPARATIVE CAPABILITIES OF THE AUTORADIOGRAPHIC SCANNERS OF PERKIN-ELMER AND NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL, A STUDY BY THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE DISCLOSED THAT THE CELL SCAN OF PERKIN-ELMER IS SUPERIOR TO THE FYDAC PHOTOSCANNING OF NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

1. THE CELL SCAN SCANS THE SLIDE DIRECTLY, WHEREAS IN THE FYDAC A MICROPHOTOGRAPH NEEDS TO BE MADE FIRST, AND THIS IS THEN SCANNED. THE SCAN IS NO BETTER THAN THE PHOTOGRAPH. PHOTOGRAPHS ARE NON-LINEAR, THAT IS TO SAY, THEY DO NOT REPRODUCE THE IMAGE FAITHFULLY.

2. THE CELL SCAN USES A COMOCHROMATIC LIGHT SOURCE--- HENCE CAN RECORD COLOR WHICH THE FYDAC CANNOT DO.

3. THE RESOLUTION ACHIEVED WITH THE CELL SCAN IS 0.15 MICRONS--- THE HIGHEST RESOLUTION AVAILABLE. THE CAPABILITIES OF THE CELL SCAN SYSTEM ARE PRECISELY WHAT IS NEEDED FOR THE PROPOSED OBJECTIVES OF THIS CONTRACT. THUS IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE PERKIN-ELMER INSTRUMENT IS SUPERIOR TO THE INSTRUMENT OF NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL. ON THIS POINT, THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE HAS DETERMINED THAT THE REQUIRED INSTRUMENT--- AUTORADIOGRAPHIC SCANNER DESIGNED FOR CELL RECOGNITION AND AUTOMATED COUNTING OF GRAINS IN AUTORADIOGRAPHS--- IS NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM ANY SOURCE. IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT A STUDY IS NECESSARY TO DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF PRODUCING SUCH AN INSTRUMENT.

THE NINE PROPOSALS WERE EVALUATED BY AN AD HOC COMMITTEE FORMED BY THE ASSOCIATE SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR FOR CLINICAL TRIALS, NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE. EVALUATION WAS MADE CONSIDERING THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:

1. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM AND CONTRACTOR'S UNDERSTANDING OF SAME.

2. TECHNICAL APPROACH.

3. SURVEY AND ANALYSIS INCLUDING LIMITATIONS OF SAMPLE.

4. CRITERIA AND EVALUATION.

5. PROJECT PLAN.

6. STAFF QUALIFICATIONS INCLUDING EXPERIENCE, BACKGROUND AND TYPES.

7. MANAGEMENT.

8. FACILITIES. POINTS WERE SCORED FOR SATISFACTORY FULFILLMENT IN EACH CATEGORY WITH A MAXIMUM OF 100 POINTS. PERKIN-ELMER SCORED HIGHEST IN EACH CATEGORY AND AMASSED A TOTAL OF 88 POINTS AS COMPARED TO 42 FOR NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL, WHICH WAS THE LOWEST SCORE ATTAINED. OF PARKIN- ELMER, THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE MADE THE FOLLOWING FINDING:

"FOR MORE THAN SIX YEARS, PERKIN-ELMER HAS BEEN ENGAGED IN THE APPLICATION OF PATTERN RECOGNITION TO BIOMEDICAL IMAGE PROCESSING. DURING THIS PERIOD, THIS COMPANY HAS BEEN A LEADER IN THE FIELD AND, IN ADDITION, HAS MADE A CONTINUING SURVEY OF ADVANCES IN METHODS AND INSTRUMENTATION TECHNIQUES IN BIOMEDICAL IMAGE PROCESSING.

"THE PERKIN-ELMER CORPORATION HAS BEEN WORKING IN A COOPERATIVE PROGRAM WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER ON THE PROBLEM OF IMAGE PROCESSING SINCE 1960. THE LONG GERM OBJECTIVE OF THIS PROGRAM IS THE DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION OF INSTRUMENTATION FOR AUTOMATIC PATTERN RECOGNITION IN THE BIOMEDICAL FIELD. THE IMMEDIATE AIM IS THE CONSTRUCTION OF A FULLY AUTOMATIC SYSTEM THAT WOULD CLASSIFY PERIPHERAL HUMAN BLOOD CELLS. INSTRUMENT, THE CELL SCAN, HAS BEEN DEVELOPED WHICH CAN "IMMAGE" INDIVIDUAL LEUKOCYTES, STORING THE INFORMATION, AND THEN SIZING AND COUNTING. THE SYSTEM CONSISTS OF A HIGH RESOLUTION TELEVISION MICROSCOPE CONNECTED THROUGH A SCANNER-TO COMPUTER LINK TO A SPECIAL PURPOSE DIGITAL COMPUTER DESIGNED BY PERKIN ELMER. THIS SYSTEM REPRESENTS AN ENORMOUS FUNDAMENTAL ADVANCE OVER THE PARTICLE COUNTING AND SIZING TECHNIQUES PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE. USING THIS PROCESS IT IS POSSIBLE TO COUNT AND SIZE VARIOUS CONSTITUENTS OF THE CELL SUCH AS THE NUCLEUS, GRANULES, ETC.

"IN ADDITION TO THE FOREGOING, A PRELIMINARY STUDY OF LEUKOCYTE TYPES HAS BEEN MADE USING SEVERAL BIOCHEMICAL PREPARATION TECHNIQUES. THE CELLS WERE IMAGED AT DIFFERENT WAVELENGTHS OF LIGHT. THE NUMBER OF CELLS CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED BY USING THIS APPROACH HAS BEEN VERY GOOD.

"THE FACILITIES AVAILABLE TO THE CONTRACTOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER SCHOOL OF MEDICINE ARE EXCELLENT AND WELL STAFFED. THEY PROVIDE FOR VERY FINE BIOLOGICAL SUPPORT FOR THE BIOMEDICAL IMAGE PROCESSING LABORATORY OF THE ELECTRO-OPTICAL RESEARCH DEPARTMENT. DR. M. INGRAM, AN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AT THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, IS CURRENTLY A CONSULTANT ON THE CELL SCAN PROGRAM AND WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PROPOSED CONTRACT. IT IS ALSO PLANNED TO ENLIST THE HELP OF DR. PATRICK J. FITZGERALD, STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, AS A CONSULTANT. HE IS A RECOGNIZED LEADER IN TECHNIQUES OF AUTORADIOGRAPHS.

"THE STAFF OF PERKIN-ELMER IS EXTREMELY COMPETENT IN ALL PHASE OF BIOMEDICAL IMAGE PROCESSING. MR. KENDALL PRESTON, JR., THE CONTRACTOR'S PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR, IS AN OUTSTANDING ENGINEER AND HAS SUPERVISED PROGRAMS SUCH AS THE ONE WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER, PICTORIAL DATA PROCESSING STUDIES, PHOTOGRAPHIC SPECTRUM ANALYSIS, MEMBRANE LIGHT MODELATION (FOR JOHNS HOPKINS), AUTOMATIC MITOTIC CELL LOCATION STUDY (FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH), ULTRASONIC HALAGRAM STUDY (FOR ARMY MATERIALS RESEARCH AGENCY), ETC. HE IS THE AUTHOR OF MANY PUBLICATIONS RELATING TO THE FOREGOING STUDIES.'

WITH RESPECT TO NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL, THE AGENCY ADVISES THAT ITS PROPOSAL DID NOT INDICATE A TECHNICAL APPROACH THAT WAS SATISFACTORY NOR DID IT INDICATE THAT IT HAD A STAFF WITH SUFFICIENT EXPERIENCE TO UNDERTAKE THE PROGRAM. MORE SPECIFICALLY, THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT SAYS:

"* * * THE ASSOCIATE SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE, A MEMBER OF THE REVIEW COMMITTEE, ADVISES THAT THE PROTESTANT'S TECHNICAL APPROACH IS COMPLETELY ORIENTED TOWARD PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM SCANNING AND IGNORES THE PROBLEMS INHERENT IN AUTORADIOGRAPHS. NOWHERE IN THE DESCRIPTION OF THE APPROACH IS THERE ANY MENTION OF THE PROBLEMS IN SAMPLE PREPARATION. THE PROTESTANT'S PERSONNEL HAD NO SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCE IN WHITE BLOOD CELL SCANNING OR RECOGNITION.'

IT APPEARS FROM THE FACTS THAT NOT ONLY WAS THE PROPOSAL OF PERKIN ELMER CONSIDERED THE MOST SATISFACTORY, BUT THAT THE ONE SUBMITTED BY NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL WAS NOT SATISFACTORY.

ALTHOUGH YOU CONTEND THAT AWARD TO NATIONAL BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION WOULD RESULT IN A COST SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT, THIS OFFICE HAS LONG RECOGNIZED THAT IN NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENTS, COST IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR CONSIDERATION. THE EVALUATING AUTHORITY MAY TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION ALL FACTORS IN ORDER TO DETERMINE WHICH PROPOSAL WOULD BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE IN CASES, AS HERE, WHERE A NEW INSTRUMENT OR PROCEDURE IS TO BE DEVELOPED. -150271, FEBRUARY 4, 1963; B-150103, APRIL 23, 1963; B-156435, JUNE 1, 1965. FURTHERMORE, THIS OFFICE HAS CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT THE MATTER OF TECHNICAL EVALUATION OF BIDS IS STRICTLY WITHIN THE PROVINCE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY. 17 COMP. GEN. 554 AND 36 COMP. GEN. 251. THE AGENCY, AFTER CONSIDERABLE REVIEW AND ANALYSIS, HAS DETERMINED THAT PERKIN -ELMER IS THE MOST QUALIFIED BIDDER TO FULFILL THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE CONTRACT. IN VIEW OF THIS FINDING, IT APPEARS THAT THE CONTRACT WAS PROPERLY AWARDED TO PERKIN ELMER.