The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation have announced the interim prize awardees in Phase 2 of the LymeX Diagnostics Prize.
Through October 2023, the 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.
In June 2023, the Phase 2 teams submitted concept papers to be considered for the interim prize. Based on the judging panel’s assessment, teams were selected to receive an interim prize of up to $75,000 each. Meet the interim prize awardees and learn more about their innovative diagnostics:
- BlueArc Biosciences Inc.’s test is a direct diagnostic designed to identify unique B. burgdorferi molecular biomarkers in blood
- Drexel University College of Medicine’s test identifies glycan biomarkers on antibodies in serum
- George Mason University’s test monitors protein biomarkers in urine and uses an at-home urine collection method
- HelixBind Inc.’s test is a molecular diagnostic assay which processes large volumes of biofluids to detect and identify microorganisms such as B. burgdorferi at extremely low concentrations
- InBios International Inc.’s test uses machine learning to identify early antibody generation and increase diagnostic data points
- Massachusetts General Hospital’s test uses genetic sequencing to identify low-abundance DNA and RNA in plasma
- T2 Biosystems Inc.’s test uses magnetic resonance technology to identify B. burgdorferi DNA in whole blood
- Tufts University’s test identifies a short-lived lipid antibody present in serum during initial stages of infection
- Virginia Tech’s test detects B. burgdorferi’s unique peptidoglycan (cell wall)
Phase 2 to award $2 million in prizes
Phase 2 will award the $2 million prize pool based on the accelerator cohort’s interim and final submissions. 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. Up to five teams may be selected to receive an equal share of the remaining prize pool, with at least $250,000 per winner.
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