HHS and Cohen Foundation launch $10 million LymeX Diagnostics Prize
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation have launched the LymeX Diagnostics Prize.
It’s a $10 million competition to accelerate the development of new ways to diagnose Lyme disease.
Phase 1 calls on scientific, technical, and clinical experts to submit innovative methods for detecting active Lyme disease infections in people.
The ultimate goal of the multi-phase competition is to advance the development of these diagnostics toward Food and Drug Administration review.
“With climate change and other factors only increasing the geographic and seasonal distribution of ticks across the United States, there is an urgent need to accelerate innovation in Lyme disease diagnostics,” says Admiral Rachel L. Levine, MD, Assistant Secretary of Health.
“Through our LymeX public-private partnership, HHS and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation are driving the next major innovations in Lyme disease diagnostics testing — ones that could significantly improve outcomes for patients.”
An estimated 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme each year, but the true number of infections is unknown.
Lyme disease symptoms vary from patient to patient, and if the bacterial infection is left untreated, the disease can become harder to eradicate and spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Early diagnosis is critical — but there is currently no FDA-cleared test for active infections.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with HHS on this competition that will bring together patients, advocates, clinicians, and innovators with broad expertise to accelerate breakthroughs in Lyme disease diagnostics,” says Alexandra Cohen, President, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation
Submissions due by August 8
Entrants should submit detailed concepts and plans for development of innovative detection methods by 4:59 p.m. ET on August 8, 2022. The competition seeks concept papers that describe proposed solutions and scientifically rigorous rationales for success, including ambitious but achievable roadmaps for prototyping, iteration, testing and validation, and evaluation.
Phase 1 to award $1 million in prizes
The competition judging panel — made up of experts in vector-borne disease biology, clinical and technology translation, patient experience and advocacy, and diagnostic science and technology — will evaluate eligible submissions according to the official Phase 1 evaluation criteria.
Based on this evaluation, the panel will recommend up to 10 Phase 1 winners. They will each receive an equal share of the $1 million Phase 1 prize pool and will be invited to participate in a planned Phase 2.
To learn more, register for the virtual information session on June 16. The LymeX team will present an in-depth overview of the competition and answer questions.
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