What is the value of the prize?
One million dollars U.S. ($1.000.000)
Who is the sponsor of this prize?
The sponsor is Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc., a “public benefit” corporation formed in Florida in 2017.
Are any other groups participating in, endorsing, or funding this project?
This project is independent and self-funded, and is not connected with or endorsed by any government agency, Alzheimer’s organization, advocacy group, or pharmaceutical company.
Will you accept donations from outsiders?
The project is internally funded. No outside donations are solicited or accepted.
What information is required to win the Challenge Award?
Persuasive evidence showing the definitive isolation and identification of a new, or previously unappreciated, germ, plus strong evidence for its direct causation of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. (The term “germ” embraces bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, prions, and any new type of organism).
What is not sought?
Opinion pieces, editorials, theories, preliminary results, published or contemplated scientific papers, animal studies alone, and the like. They cannot be considered, and will not be acknowledged or returned. The sponsor accepts no responsibility for such unrequested items.
What is the deadline for submissions?
No entry will be accepted if received after midnight Eastern Standard Time, December 31, 2020. Entries may be received at any time prior to that.
Who is eligible to enter?
Any legally-eligible scientist or team of scientists from any institution, company, or other entity, worldwide. The language for submissions and all administrative matters is English.
What is the entry procedure?
A potentially interested scientist or team of scientists must fill out and submit the “Preliminary Expression of Interest” (PEI) form, found on the website. Submission of the PEI indicates acknowledgement and acceptance of all Rules, and Terms and Conditions, applicable. The PEI is non-binding, and the submittal may be withdrawn at any time. Those PEI submissions deemed relevant and in the spirit of the Challenge Award, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor, will be notified and sent an Official Entry Form, with further instructions. All entrants must acknowledge reading and accepting the Terms and Conditions, and the Rules.
When will a decision be announced?
A winner may be announced at any time, but not later than March 31, 2021.
Who are the judges?
A panel of expert judges, now in formation, will make the assessments and determinations. All decisions of the judges are final and may not be appealed.
Must the prize be awarded?
Hopefully the Award will be won. However, if no entry is deemed to meet the criteria for winning, no prize will be awarded.
How and where will the prize be paid?
The prize will be paid in the usual course of business within 60 days of the winner being declared, and validated as to eligibility, where, and in the format the sponsor elects. All taxes, foreign currency aspects (if any), and other administrative expenses for the awardee are the responsibilities of the awardee. The awardee agrees to participate in an award ceremony, if held, and cooperate and permit the uses of their name(s) and likeness in relevant publicity. A presumptive winner must be legally eligible for the prize and legally able to receive it.
Patents and other intellectual property?
The sponsor makes no claim whatsoever on any intellectual property of entrants. All rights to patents and other intellectual property related to the germ discovered and proven, and any related items, remain with the submitters and awardees, who are responsible for these aspects of the award. As privacy cannot be absolutely assured because of possible hacking, etc., no confidential or proprietary information should be submitted.
Is there any example of a challenge award “working” in medicine?
Yes. Many. Here’s one – an ALS challenge award that produced a biomarker.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease. There is not yet any cure. A major obstacle to finding one has been the lack of a way to measure the progression of the disease, and thus monitor the effectiveness of treatments. This has discouraged drug companies from trying to develop new compounds that might be effective therapy.
The Challenge: Find a Biomarker for ALS. In 2006, Avi Kremer, a 29-year-old Harvard Business School student and former captain in the Israeli army, was diagnosed with ALS. After learning that there was no cure, and in fact, no hope for one, he decided to apply his training and brainpower and the resources available to him at Harvard to make the biggest impact he could on ALS research.
He, along with several classmates, formed Prize4Life, Inc. with the mission “to accelerate the discovery of treatments and a cure for ALS by using powerful incentives to attract new people and drive innovation.”
After studying various options, Avi and the other founders of Prize4Life decided to use an incentive prize as a way to attract new minds and new money to a specific goal in the fight against ALS. They would award $1 million to the first person or team to identify an ALS biomarker.
The prize approach had several advantages. First, it would bring attention to the need for an ALS biomarker and would give researchers clear metrics for effectiveness. Second, the prize presented a novel way to get funding for the disease – donors would only pay if the Challenge was solved. This appealed to donors who want to see results from their donations. Third, the publicity around the prize would help generate awareness for the disease.
To launch their Challenge, Prize4Life worked with a private firm, Innocentive, that manages challenge contests for others. Twelve candidate solutions were submitted.
Outcome: In early 2011, the $1 million was awarded to Dr. Seward Rutkove, a neurologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. for his work with electrical impedance myography, which sensitively measures the flow of a small electrical current through muscle tissue. He demonstrated that the more the disease progresses, and muscles atrophy, the greater the change detected as current moves through them. Thus, disease progression can be measured.
Impact: The cost of a Phase II ALS clinical trial has been roughly $10 million. Using the new biomarker, trials can be done with fewer patients and more quickly. This will reduce the cost to $5 million or less.
In addition, the ALS Biomarker Prize competition has already brought new research funding into ALS and raised the visibility of the disease in the eyes of the public. Several additional biotech companies have also been drawn into the field
“When we launched what we thought was a neuroscience challenge we certainly didn’t expect some of the most exciting ideas to come from the fields of dermatology, chemistry, and plant biology– and yet that’s what happened..”, said Melanie Leitner, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Prize4Life.
Neither the sponsor nor anybody else connected with the offering or administration of this prize will provide, offers to provide, or is engaged in providing, medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, referral or any other clinical service to any person. Any person with a medical question or concern should consult his or her own physician or other authority. Do not take, or cease taking, any medication because of any content found in this challenge or this website.
Other questions may be emailed to: info@ALZgerm.org