HHS and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation Announce $2M

The US Department of Health and Human Services and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation have announced $2 million in Phase 2 awards for the LymeX Diagnostic Award. Until October 2023, the ten winners of Phase 1 are participating in a virtual accelerator designed to help them refine their concepts for detecting active Lyme disease infections in people. During Phase 2 of the accelerator, the cohort has access to virtual learning, mentoring, biorepository subject matter expertise, and networking opportunities. The goal of this multi-phase LymeX Innovation Accelerator (LymeX) competition is to foster the development of diagnostics for review by the Food and Drug Administration.

Using an award competition model consistent with the America COMPETES Act, the LymeX Diagnostics Award incorporates cash prizes along with a variety of non-monetary resources to stimulate the marketplace and bring together a diverse group of experts. The need for new testing methods for Lyme disease is only growing. Originally developed in 1994 for disease surveillance, not as a stand-alone diagnostic test, the bi-level antibody test system relies on the presence of antibodies and can only be used accurately for four to six weeks after tests have been carried out. patients become infected. However, available treatments are most effective when used early in the acute stage of the disease.

“Under the Biden-Harris administration, HHS has made it a priority to expand Americans’ access to health care, and in particular to accurate diagnoses critical to timely treatment interventions,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Rachel L. Levine, MD. LymeX Innovation Accelerator, a public-private partnership with the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, we are encouraging innovators from academia and the private sector to come together to improve the diagnosis of Lyme disease.”

Phase 2 will award a total prize pool of $2 million based on interim and final submissions from the accelerator cohort. In June 2023, the ten teams from Phase 2 were invited to submit concept papers for consideration for the provisional award. Based on the judging panel’s evaluation, up to ten teams may be selected to receive a provisional 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.

“We are proud to partner with HHS to provide the resources necessary to advance these diagnostic concepts toward FDA review,” said Alex Cohen, president of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. “The development of tests for active Lyme infection is a critical first step in improving outcomes for this disabling disease.”

In October 2023, the cohort will submit final concept papers detailing the refinement of the solution, including clinical and patient input, and proposing a lab-to-market roadmap that includes FDA review. He competition judging panel—composed of experts in areas such as vector-borne disease biology, clinical and technological translation, patient experience and advocacy, and diagnostic science and technology—will evaluate eligible submissions according to Official evaluation criteria for Phase 2.. Based on the judges’ evaluations, the judging panel will recommend up to five LymeX Diagnostics Award Phase 2 winners.

Thanks to a $10 million pledge for the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation’s LymeX Diagnostics Prize, an additional $7 million in LymeX prizes are projected to be available in the future. HHS plans to announce additional details for the next phase of the LymeX Diagnostics Award later this year.

Additionally, a selection of accelerator resources will be made publicly available on the contest website to support broader innovation in the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.

About LymeX
The LymeX Diagnostics Award is sponsored by the LymeX Innovation Accelerator, a partnership between the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. LymeX is the world’s largest public-private partnership for Lyme disease, fostering collaborative innovation among patients and advocates, academia, nonprofits, industry, and government. As a component of a larger project, LymeX is identifying, developing and implementing advances in Lyme disease care. In addition to accelerating next-generation diagnostics, LymeX is spearheading the development of people-centered solutions and driving advances in education and awareness. For more information visit lyme-x.org.

About the US Department of Health and Human Services
HHS improves and protects the health and well-being of all Americans. HHS fulfills that mission by providing effective health and human services and fostering strong and sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services. For more information, visit hhs.gov.

About the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation
The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is committed to inspiring philanthropy and community service by raising awareness, offering guidance and leading by example to show the world what giving can do. Foundation grants support US-based nonprofit organizations that help people in need or solve complex problems. The Foundation is the largest private funder of Lyme and tick-borne disease research in the United States, with more than $75 million disbursed for innovative studies in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as building essential research infrastructure. to catalyze innovation. The Foundation also spearheads grassroots campaigns to encourage others to donate. For more information visit steveandalex.org.

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