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Challenge AstraZeneca Challenge: 
<em>In Vitro</em> Models of Glomerular Function
AstraZeneca Challenge: In Vitro Models of Glomerular Function
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 91
Posted: May 13 2015
Challenge ID: 9933748
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The majority of all cases of chronic kidney disease, a key research area within AstraZeneca, originate in the glomerulus when filtration barrier function is compromised. However, a detailed cellular understanding of the functioning and pathology of the glomerulus has been limited by the lack of good in vitro models of glomerular function. 

AstraZeneca is looking for approaches to develop a glomerular model system. Ideally, the in vitro model should incorporate a self-contained microphysiological unit where biologically appropriate media, fluid flow and shear stress can be modulated to simulate in vivo properties that will ultimately recapitulate the  conditions necessary for endothelial and podocyte cell types to form a functional glomerular filtration barrier. 

This is an ideation challenge and only requires a written solution.



The majority of all cases of chronic kidney disease, a key research area within AstraZeneca, originate in the glomerulus when filtration barrier is compromised. The coordinated efforts of the podocytes and endothelium together with their underlying  basement membrane establish the glomerular filtration barrier and injury to these cells can lead to loss of kidney function. 

There are currently no human in vitro models that mimic a functional or diseased glomerulus. Development of a human glomerular filtration barrier biomimetic system will thus address gaps in in vitro models for simulating human kidney disease, toxicity and DMPK. 

We are looking for innovative approaches to developing a glomerular model that incorporates a self-contained microphysiological unit, ideally including podocytes, the endothelium, and where biologically appropriate media, fluid flow, and shear stress can be modulated to simulate in vivo properties that will ultimately recapitulate the structural and cellular conditions necessary for glomerular function. 


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. 

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The awards will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $15,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $7,500 and no award being smaller than $2,500. 
  • Submission forwarding occurs during the Challenge.  Since submissions will be forwarded to the Seeker throughout the Challenge, please make sure you upload only a finished proposal. You can submit an updated version of your proposal only as a new submission. If you submit an updated version of your proposal, please clearly indicate the new items and/or edits compared to your previous submission. This will allow the Seeker to quickly find the new information and determine how it improves your submission. 
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solvers grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on June 26, 2015.  Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submitted a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.

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 InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

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