The Antimicrobial Resistance Diagnostic Challenge is a $20 million federal prize competition seeking innovative, rapid point-of-care laboratory diagnostic tests to combat the development and spread of drug resistant bacteria. A rising public health problem, antibiotic resistant bacteria cause at least 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Challenge calls for new, innovative, and novel laboratory diagnostic tests that identify and characterize antibiotic resistant bacteria and/or distinguish between viral and bacterial infections to reduce unnecessary uses of antibiotics, a major cause of antibiotic resistance. With real-time detection, healthcare providers would be able to identify infecting pathogens and resistance factors within hours, rather than days, and use the knowledge to tailor treatment to each individual.
“The growing incidence of serious infections from antibiotic resistant bacteria presents a critical risk to the public health of our nation,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “My hope is that this competition will spur exceptional innovators to rise to the challenge and deliver effective tools to help manage this significant problem.”
With real-time detection, healthcare providers would be able to identify infecting pathogens and resistance factors within hours, rather than the two to three days or longer that the standard microbiological culture processes require. Such knowledge would allow tailoring of treatments, minimizing the broad-spectrum antibiotic approach used by many clinicians today.
“This effort even goes beyond public health,” said Nicole Lurie, M.D., M.S.P.H., assistant secretary for preparedness and response. “Combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a priority issue for economic and national security.”
Concepts must be submitted by Jan. 9, 2017, for the first phase of the competition. Up to 20 semi-finalists will be selected from the applicant pool, each receiving up to $50,000. In the second phase of the competition, on Dec. 3, 2018, up to 10 finalists will be selected to each receive up to $100,000. These funds can be used to develop prototypes for evaluation by two certified independent laboratories, which will be considered when final winners are selected. In the final phase, winners are expected to be announced on July 31, 2020. The competition specifies that up to three winners can be selected, and winners will share an amount equal to or greater than $18 million.
The Challenge is a joint effort between the National Institutes of Health and the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in support of the White House’s National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and ASPR’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) are each contributing $10 million to the Challenge. The Challenge also was developed with technical and regulatory expertise from the CDC, Food and Drug Administration, and NIH Office of the Director.
Step 1: Up to $50,000 per semi-finalist (maximum of 20 semi-finalists)
Step 2: Up to $100,000 per semi-finalist (maximum of 10 semi-finalists)
Step 3: Equal to or greater than $18,000,000 to be divided among a maximum of three awardees based on the number of prizes awarded to Step 1 and 2 semi-finalists from a total pool of $20,000,000.
As determined by the judges, the number of prizes will be determined for the Step 1 and 2 semi-finalists and Step 3 winner(s) from a total pool of $20,000,000.