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Challenge <p> AstraZeneca Challenge: Development of Targeted Oligonucleotide Delivery - Private Challenge</p>

AstraZeneca Challenge: Development of Targeted Oligonucleotide Delivery - Private Challenge

STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 5
Posted: Dec 23 2014
Challenge ID: 9933015
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Oligonucleotide therapy is an emerging treatment option for various diseases. Binding of these short chain sequences to complimentary RNA can result in the decrease of certain gene products leading to a therapeutic effect. With specific targeting, the activity of these oligonucleotides could be improved by having a direct effect on tumor cells and other cell types associated with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. 

AstraZeneca is sponsoring a 2 Phase Reduction-to-Practice Challenge to develop a novel, platform technology to facilitate the selective delivery of short chain oligonucleotides. Milestone 1 requires proof-of-concept test data in vitro. Milestone 2 involves working in collaboration with the Seeker to validate the delivery technology in vivo with clinically relevant oligonucleotides provided by the Seeker. 

AstraZeneca intends to make an award of $20,000 for Milestone 1 and a final award of up to $100,000 for successful completion of Milestone 2. During the course of the Challenge, ISIS Pharmaceuticals may be invited to support the work at the discretion of AstraZeneca. 

This Reduction-to-Practice Challenge requires a written work proposal and experimental proof-of-concept data – in vitro for Phase 1 and in vivo for Phase 2.


Antisense oligonucleotides or anti-microRNAs are short single chain oligonucleotides that can be designed to knock down specific target mRNA or modulate microRNA regulation in tissues throughout the body. These short nucleic acid chains are susceptible to degradation, so they are often chemically modified to improve stability or conjugated to other molecules to increase their bioavailability, enhance their target specificity, and improve their cell potency. AstraZeneca desires solutions for the selective delivery of these oligonucleotides to key target cell types including tumor cells, adipocytes, cardiomyocytes, glomerular cells, and pancreatic beta cells. 

Solvers are requested to develop a novel, platform technology to facilitate the selective delivery of short chain oligonucleotides as proposed in their winning solution to AstraZeneca Challenge: Targeted Delivery of Oligonucleotides – Challenge 9933013. A submission to this new Challenge should include the following: 

  1. Milestone 1, Part A – The detailed Project Plan explaining the methods, materials, personnel, resources, schedule, capability to generate data, and potential limitations to completing Milestones 1 & 2. The Project Plan must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on February 28, 2015.
  2. Milestone 1, Part B – Following guidance from AstraZeneca and provision of any reagents agreed by the Seeker, Solvers will be required to submit proof-of-concept in vitro test data by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on December 1, 2015.
  3. Milestone 2 – Validation data of the delivery technology in vivo with clinically relevant oligonucleotides provided by the Seeker and working collaboratively with the Seeker. Results must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on June 30, 2017. 

The award is contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the Project Plan (Milestone 1A) and review of the submitted data sets (Milestones 1B) and confirmation of the data sets by the Seeker (Milestone 2). 

To receive an award, the Solvers will have to transfer non-exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. 


AstraZeneca is a global, research-based, biopharmaceutical company with a focus on five key therapeutic areas: 1) cardiovascular & metabolic diseases, 2) oncology, 3) respiratory, inflammation & autoimmunity, 4) neuroscience, and 5) infection. As an innovation-driven, research organization, AstraZeneca recognizes that great ideas come from many sources. Open innovation is an avenue by which ideas can be shared and AstraZeneca recently launched a pavilion to further its commitment to facilitate the advancement of pharmaceutical research. 

In 2012, AstraZeneca formed strategic alliances with ISIS Pharmaceuticals to advance the discovery and development of RNA therapeutics and they are co-seekers in this challenge. ISIS Pharmaceuticals ( is a leader in antisense drug discovery and development.

What is InnoCentive?
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an RTP Challenge?

An InnoCentive RTP (Reduction to Practice) Challenge is a prototype that proves an idea, and is similar to an InnoCentive Theoretical Challenge in its high level of detail. However, an RTP requires the Solver to submit a validated solution, either in the form of original data or a physical sample. Also the Seeker is allowed to test the proposed solution. For details about treatment of IP rights, please see the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

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