BeyondPolio and InnoCentive Announce Winners of Challenge to Help Eradicate Polio Globally

Waltham, Mass – November  13, 2012 – InnoCentive, Inc., the global leader in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and prize competitions, and Beyond Polio, an initiative of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation and the investment firm Spencer Trask, today announced the solutions of its first Innovation Challenge which sought to identify ways to reduce the cost and facilitate the use of the inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) in low- and middle-income countries. This Challenge achieved BeyondPolio’s desired result of identifying promising solution paths that could help complete the eradication of polio at a global level, building on the success of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative which has used oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) to nearly wipe out the virus in the remaining countries where it has been circulating.

“One of the problems we face is that OPV continues to reintroduce potentially paralyzing polioviruses in areas where it is used, since the vaccine contains weakened viruses that can mutate back to a virulent form,” said Dr. Peter Salk, President of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation. “IPV, which is used in over 50 wealthier countries, does not have that problem, but it is currently unaffordable for widespread use in low- and middle-income countries.  Reducing its cost and making it easier to apply will go a long way toward helping push poliovirus infection to extinction.”

This successful Ideation Challenge asked participants to identify promising approaches to significantly reducing the cost of using IPV in countries where it is currently unaffordable. Over a two-month period, the Challenge attracted 432 Solvers and more than 50 solutions were submitted. Entries were reviewed by experts in the field of polio research and eradication, and by Dr. Peter Salk, son of Dr. Jonas Salk, the researcher who led the team that developed IPV in the early 1950s.

Kevin Kimberlin, Chairman of Spencer Trask, added “We are delighted at the level of interest our initial Challenge elicited and the creative ideas proposed.  InnoCentive’s diverse Solver network has helped focus attention on several promising approaches to reducing the cost of IPV and developing affordable new noninfectious polio vaccines.”

The following Solvers or Solver teams were selected as winners and each received a $5,000 award. Two of the Solvers, Stephen Duren and Tiong Sun Chia, learned of the Challenge through the Open Innovation Pavilion on nature.com, which is powered by InnoCentive.

  • Micron Biomedical, LLC, Marietta, Georgia – Dissolving Microneedle Patches
  • Harvey Arbesman, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Buffalo – Transcutaneous Adjuvant Patches
  • Stephen Duren, graduate student, Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, University of South Florida – Production of Poliovirus Antigens in Yeast
  • Tiong Sun Chia, Ph.D. candidate, University of Western Australia at Perth – Production of Poliovirus Antigens in Plants
  • Dmitriy S. Tipikin, Ph.D., Research Associate, Department of Radiology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth – Improvements to Traditional Poliovirus Vaccine Production Methods

Following the success of this initial Challenge, BeyondPolio is investigating ways to accelerate development and testing of the proposed ideas.  BeyondPolio plans to conduct future Challenges and promote collaborative programs, and is actively seeking partnerships with corporations, foundations and others who can bring support, resources, and attention to enhance these efforts.

“InnoCentive is proud to be a part of this Challenge and its solutions, which hold the promise of helping to eradicate polioviruses from the globe forever,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive. “Crowdsourcing ideas from across geographies, disciplines, and specialties has proven time and again to be a rapid and highly effective means of advancing innovative research into global health issues.”

About BeyondPolio
BeyondPolio is dedicated to assisting the global effort to eradicate polio and maintain success once eradication is achieved.  Our goal is to increase the affordability and utilization of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) in the final phases of the eradication effort and aid in the development of other safe and affordable noninfectious poliovirus vaccines.  We use collaborative innovation programs and Challenges to focus attention, attract new people and spur new creative approaches to this mission.

BeyondPolio is a collaborative program and designated fund of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation, undertaken in conjunction with Spencer Trask & Co. The Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation is a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and donations to support this program are deductible as charitable contributions to the extent permitted by law.

About InnoCentive
InnoCentive is the global leader in crowdsourcing innovation problems to the world’s smartest people who compete to provide ideas and solutions to important business, social, policy, scientific, and technical challenges. Our global network of millions of problem solvers, proven challenge methodology, and cloud-based technology combine to help our clients transform their economics of innovation through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. For more than a decade, leading commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations such as AARP Foundation, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cleveland Clinic, Eli Lilly & Company, EMC Corporation, NASA, Nature Publishing Group, Procter & Gamble, Syngenta, The Economist, and The Rockefeller Foundation have partnered with InnoCentive to rapidly generate innovative new ideas and solve problems faster, more cost effectively, and with less risk than ever before. For more information, visit www.innocentive.com, email info [at] innocentive [dot] com, or call 1-855-CROWDNOW (U.S.) or +44 (0) 207 935 0827 (International).

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Media Contacts:

Steve Bonadio
InnoCentive, Inc.
978-482-3300
sbonadio [at] innocentive [dot] com

Marisa Borgasano
Schwartz MSL for InnoCentive
781-684-0770  
innocentive [at] schwartzmsl [dot] com

Kerry Safir
BeyondPolio
212-418-8556
ksafir [at] beyondpolio [dot] org