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PRESS RELEASE

Longitude Prize awards seed funding to develop rapid tests that prevent misuse of antibiotics

  • Longitude Prize announces winners of seed funding programme ‘Discovery Awards’
  • Global scientists given between £10,000 and £25,000 to support their bid to win the £10m Longitude Prize

Judges have today announced their decision to grant 13 organisations from Australia, Belgium, India, Israel, the Netherlands, the USA and the UK funding from the 2017 Discovery Awards. The seed funding supports their bids to win the ultimate Longitude Prize - an international competition, with a £10 million prize fund, to create an affordable, rapid and easy-to-use diagnostic test for bacterial infections.

Run by innovation foundation Nesta and supported by Innovate UK as funding partner, the premise of the Longitude Prize is that the creation of such a diagnostic will help dramatically reduce the overuse and misuse of antibiotics by medical professionals and patients.

The second round of Discovery Awards draws on a grant of £250,000 from MSD, a global healthcare company. The funding is aimed at helping competing teams overcome barriers to developing their potentially game-changing tests further. From diagnosing sepsis, E.coli to urinary tract infections, the solutions put forward by the teams range from monitoring bacterial activity on light sensitive surfaces to detecting immune responses in the blood and using colour changing polymers.

The winning teams received between £10,000 and £25,000 each, they are:

  • Coris BioConcept, Belgium
  • Drugs & Diagnostics for Tropical Diseases (DDTD), USA
  • EDPAL, UK
  • Embryyo, India
  • Encompass Consortium, Australia
  • Going against the Flow, Australia
  • ID Genomics, Inc., USA
  • Module Innovations, India
  • OxTB, UK
  • Prismatix, Israel  
  • RAPDI, Netherlands
  • Rapid AMR Detection Team, UK   
  • Strathclyde Biomedical Engineering, UK

Daniel Berman, Nesta’s Longitude Prize lead said: “Globally, drug resistant infections cause 700,000 deaths a year. Today’s Discovery Award winners are being funded to develop their solutions that will take the guesswork out of diagnosing bacterial infections. Ultimately, only reduced and more rational use of antibiotics will help slow down resistance. With just over two years left before the final Longitude Prize entry deadline hits, the pressure to win is really on.”

The funding for the 2017 Discovery Awards has been provided by MSD, known as Merck in the United States and Canada, a global healthcare company. Dr Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer at MSD said: “As a global leader in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, we are delighted to support this important initiative. Only via a truly holistic approach can we succeed in tackling this urgent threat – and boosting diagnostic capabilities to inform appropriate prescribing is a crucial step towards this end.”

There are currently more than 240 teams, from almost 41 countries, registered to take part in the Longitude Prize. To learn more about the Longitude Prize, visit https://longitudeprize.org/

-Ends

Winner case studies, images and interviews available on request

For media enquiries please contact Kasia Murphy at Nesta on +44 (0) 20 7438 2610 or [email protected]  

Notes to Editors

Applications to the Longitude Prize Discovery Awards were submitted between January and April 2017 and the panel met in June to decide the winners. Teams are at various stages of development of their test, ranging from proof of concept to beginning clinical validation of their technology to fabrication of components for prototypes.

Previous winners of the Discovery Awards can be found here.


About Longitude Prize: The Longitude Prize £10m prize fund aims to conserve antibiotics for future generations and revolutionise global healthcare. It will reward a competitor that can develop a transformative, point-of-care diagnostic test that can either rule out antibiotic use or help identify an effective antibiotic to treat a patient. The Longitude Prize being delivered by innovation foundation Nesta was announced by the former Prime Minister David Cameron at G8 in 2013, and is supported by Innovate UK as funding partner. The Prize commemorates the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Act (1714) when the British government threw down the gauntlet to solve one of the great scientific challenges of that century: how to pinpoint a ship’s location at sea. www.longitudeprize.org