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Challenge Home Test for Phenylalanine
Home Test for Phenylalanine
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 639
Posted: Oct 15 2013
Challenge ID: 9933401
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Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare inherited genetic disorder that affects approximately one in 15,000 babies born in the USA. Effective management of PKU requires rapid and easy-to-use measurement of blood phenylalanine, but current blood tests for phenylalanine require a visit to a clinician or a self-administered blood draw and subsequent testing by a laboratory. 

The National PKU Alliance (NPKUA) requires a theoretical design of a rapid and robust test that could be developed for home use. NPKUA intends to make up to 8 awards from a total award pool of $80,000 – awarded solutions will be advanced to produce proof of concept data in a subsequent Reduction to Purpose challenge with milestone awards of $10,000, $50,000 and a final award of up to $200,000. This second challenge may be a public or invitational challenge. 

This Challenge requires only a written proposal.


The National PKU Alliance’s (NPKUA’s) mission is to improve the lives of individuals with PKU and pursue a cure. Although dietary maintenance and other treatment strategies are valuable in helping individuals manage their disease, these strategies are best combined with rapid, easy, and sensitive testing of blood phenylalanine levels to avoid the side effects of elevations in phenylalanine or its derivatives, such as phenylketone. Currently, PKU patients collect small blood samples and send them for testing, but patients must wait several days to two weeks before obtaining results. During this time, spikes in blood phenylalanine may cause lasting damage, especially in children. 

NPKUA requires comprehensive designs of home tests for quantifying levels of phenylalanine in blood or other easily accessible samples and looks to progress winning designs to proof-of-concept in a subsequent challenge. Although measuring levels in blood is the current ‘gold standard’ NPKUA is happy to consider technologies using non-blood samples, or measuring metabolites of phenylalanine, as long as the readings will correlate closely to phenylalanine blood levels. Can you help? 

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted.  The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker. The submitted proposals must be no more than 10 pages in length, including appendices. It is recommended to include a 500-word executive summary or abstract at the beginning of the document. References and resumes may be submitted in separate documents, each no longer than 1 page. 

To receive an award, the Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive IP rights to the Seeker.  Instead, they will grant to the Seeker non-exclusive license to practice their solutions.  It is the Seeker’s intent to award multiple solutions from a total award pool of $80,000 and progress winning theoretical concepts in a subsequent RTP challenge with milestone awards of $10,000, $50,000 and a final award of up to $200,000. This second challenge may be a public or invitational challenge.

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What is a Theoretical-Licensing Challenge?

An InnoCentive Theoretical Challenge builds upon an idea but is not yet a proof of concept. A solution to a Theoretical Challenge will solidify the Solver's concept with detailed descriptions, specifications and requirements necessary to bringing a good idea closer to becoming an actual product or service.

This Challenge is a Theoretical-Licensing Challenge, meaning that the Seeker is requesting non-exclusive rights to use the winning solution. By contrast, Theoretical-IP Transfer means that Solvers must relinquish all rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) for which they are awarded. For these forms of a Theoretical Challenge, Solvers that do not win retain the rights to their solution after the evaluation period is complete. The Seeker retains no rights to any IP not awarded.

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