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Challenge The SUDEP Institute Challenge: Predictive Biomarkers of Epilepsy Seizures
The SUDEP Institute Challenge: Predictive Biomarkers of Epilepsy Seizures
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 401
Posted: Feb 24 2016
Challenge ID: 9933719
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Nearly 3 million people in the United States and 65 million people worldwide have epilepsy, a neurological condition which affects the nervous system and causes seizures. One in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime with 150,000 new cases annually in the United States. Nearly 80% of the people with epilepsy live in low- and middle-income countries and three-quarters of these individuals do not get the treatment they need.

Among those living with epilepsy, nearly one-third have ongoing seizures despite existing therapies. Each year, more than 1 out of 1,000 people with epilepsy die from sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). If seizures are uncontrolled, the risk of SUDEP increases to more than 1 out of 150. SUDEP is the leading cause of death in young adults with uncontrolled seizures.

In order to accelerate the identification of effective treatments for SUDEP, the Epilepsy Foundation SUDEP Institute is challenging Solvers to propose a predictive biomarker or panel of biomarkers to identify people at risk for SUDEP. The biomarker(s) must serve as an endpoint or surrogate endpoint that will drive human SUDEP interventions. For example, the biomarker(s) may identify a high risk patient group that could be used to test existing candidate interventions such as seizure detection devices in a clinical trial.

This Challenge requires only a written proposal.


Identifying biomarkers to predict SUDEP represents a major unmet medical need. Although there are several postulated causes of SUDEP, who is at risk of mortality from epilepsy and how to prevent it remains a mystery. Emerging research shows that SUDEP can be caused by physiological changes after seizures that depress brain activity and can impair respiratory and cardiac function. SUDEP usually occurs within an hour of one or more convulsive seizures.

There are few targeted interventions that reliably predict and prevent SUDEP in people with epilepsy. Therefore, the Epilepsy Foundation SUDEP Institute desires the identification of clinically relevant, specific and sensitive biomarkers of SUDEP to facilitate the development of a therapeutic intervention for people at high risk. Biomarkers may be genetic, structural, metabolic, physiological, etc. An ideal biomarker or biomarker panel is easily and safely measured, cost-efficient to detect, modifiable with intervention, and consistently associated with SUDEP and will drive human SUDEP interventions. The Epilepsy Foundation SUDEP Institute recognizes that the severity and frequency of seizures is the leading risk factor for SUDEP, therefore a biomarker or biomarker panel that can be predictive of seizures (particularly convulsive seizures) will also be considered.   

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on May 24, 2016. Late submissions will not be considered.

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 Epilepsy Foundation SUDEP Institute intends to make up to 10 awards from a total award pool of up to $150,000. However, the Seeker may (i) not award any solution if none of the submitted proposals meets all Solution Requirements or (ii) award only the solution of the highest overall quality with $15,000. The awarded solution(s) will be advanced to produce proof of concept data in a subsequent Reduction to Practice Challenge which will award $1,000,000. This second Challenge may be public or by invitation only.

To receive an award, Solvers will not be required to transfer their exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. Instead, Solvers will grant to the Seeker a non-exclusive license to practice their solutions.


This challenge is driven by the Epilepsy Foundation SUDEP Institute. The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to stop seizures and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), find a cure, and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy, and research to accelerate ideas into therapies. 

The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with more than 50 affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against epilepsy since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. The Foundation works to prevent, control, and cure epilepsy through community services; public education; federal and local advocacy; and supporting research into new treatments and therapies. The Foundation works to ensure that people with epilepsy have the opportunity to live to their fullest potential. 

The SUDEP Institute is an initiative led by the Epilepsy Foundation that carries out SUDEP education and awareness programs for people affected by epilepsy and medical professionals; drives and supports research into the causes of and ways to prevent SUDEP; offers a support network providing counseling, community, and resources for individuals and families affected by SUDEP; and works together with many epilepsy organizations to find answers to SUDEP. 

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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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