The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation have announced $2 million in Phase 2 prizes for the LymeX Diagnostics Prize. Through October 2023, the ten Phase 1 winners are participating in a virtual accelerator designed to help them refine their concepts for detecting active Lyme disease infections in people. The goal of this multiphase LymeX Innovation Accelerator (LymeX) competition is to nurture the development of diagnostics toward Food and Drug Administration review.
“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, HHS has made it a priority to expand Americans’ access to healthcare—and particularly the accurate diagnostics crucial for timely treatment interventions. Through our LymeX Innovation Accelerator public-private partnership with the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, we are incentivizing innovators across academia and the private sector to come together to improve Lyme disease diagnostics.”
— Admiral Rachel L. Levine, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health
Driving innovation through cash prizes and expert support
This America COMPETES Act prize competition incorporates cash prizes alongside a range of non-monetary resources to stimulate the market and bring together a diverse group of experts. During the Phase 2 accelerator, the cohort has access to virtual learning, mentorship, biorepository subject matter expertise, and networking opportunities.
“We are proud to partner with HHS to provide the resources to advance these diagnostic concepts toward FDA review. Developing tests for active Lyme infection is a critical first step toward improving outcomes for this disabling disease.”
— Alex Cohen, President of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation
Phase 2 will award the $2 million prize pool based on the accelerator cohort’s interim and final submissions. In June 2023, the ten Phase 2 teams were invited to submit concept papers to be considered for the interim prize. Based on the judging panel’s assessment, up to ten teams may be selected to receive an interim prize of up to $75,000 each. At the end of Phase 2, up to five teams may be selected to receive an equal share of the remaining prize pool, with at least $250,000 per winner.
Teams to submit final submissions in October 2023
In October 2023, the cohort will submit final concept papers that detail solution refinement, include clinical and patient input, and propose a roadmap from lab to market that includes FDA review. The competition judging panel—composed of experts in areas such as vector-borne disease biology, clinical and technology translation, patient experience and advocacy, and diagnostic science and technology—will evaluate eligible submissions according to official Phase 2 evaluation criteria. Based on the judges’ evaluations, the judging panel will recommend up to five Phase 2 winners of the LymeX Diagnostics Prize.
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