Earlier this month, the Phase 2 teams submitted final concept papers for their proposed diagnostics, detailing solution refinement, clinical and patient input, and a proposed roadmap from lab to market that includes Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review. The ultimate goal of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation’s LymeX Diagnostics Prize is to nurture the development of diagnostics toward FDA review.

There is a critical need for new Lyme disease diagnostics: With an estimated 476,000 cases annually, Lyme disease is by far the leading vector-borne disease in America. But the current diagnostic process — a two-tiered antibody testing algorithm originally developed in 1994 for disease surveillance, not as a stand-alone diagnostic test — relies on the presence of antibodies and can only be used accurately four to six weeks after infection.

Early diagnosis of Lyme disease is critical. If left untreated, the debilitating disease can become harder to eradicate and spread throughout the body.

Meet the judging panel

The judging panel is now evaluating eligible submissions according to official Phase 2 evaluation criteria. The LymeX Diagnostics Prize thanks the judges for contributing their time and expertise:

  • Holly Ahern, M.S., M.T. (ASCP), Associate Professor of Microbiology at SUNY Adirondack
  • Nadine Bowden, D.V.M., Ph.D., Program Officer for Lyme disease and other Borrelioses at the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases
  • Luiz Miguel Camargo, Ph.D., Senior Commercialization Advisor at NobleReach Emerge
  • Christine Green, M.D., board certified family physician
  • Adriana Marques, M.D., Chief of the Lyme Disease Studies Unit, Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health
  • Paul S. Mead, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of the Bacterial Diseases Branch (BDB), Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
  • Kristian Roth, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Division of Microbiology Devices, Office of In Vitro Diagnostics at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Jinyu Shan, Ph.D, Chief Scientific Officer at Phelix Research & Development

Phase 2 to award $2 million in prizes

In June 2023, the Phase 2 teams submitted concept papers to be considered for the interim prize. Teams were selected to receive an interim prize of up to $75,000 each. Based on their evaluations of the final submissions, the judging panel will recommend up to five Phase 2 winners of the LymeX Diagnostics Prize. Phase 2 winners will receive an equal share of the remaining prize pool, with at least $250,000 per team.

Thanks to a $10 million pledge to the LymeX Diagnostics Prize from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, $7 million in additional LymeX prizes are projected to be available in proposed future phases. A selection of accelerator resources has been made available to the public on the competition website to support broader innovation in Lyme disease diagnostics and treatment.

To receive the Phase 2 winner announcement, subscribe to the LymeX Diagnostics Prize newsletter and follow @Lyme_X on X (formerly Twitter).