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Challenge AstraZeneca Challenge: Development of a Retrievable Device for Islet Transplantation - Private Challenge
AstraZeneca Challenge: Development of a Retrievable Device for Islet Transplantation - Private Challenge
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 1
Posted: Dec 01 2015
Challenge ID: 9933819
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Pancreatic islet beta-cells sense blood sugar levels and secrete insulin to maintain homeostasis. In patients with diabetes, islet beta-cells are either lacking or ineffective. Islet transplantation is a treatment strategy that allows diabetics to reduce or eliminate the need for insulin injections to control their disease. 

AstraZeneca is sponsoring a 2 Phase Reduction-to-Practice Challenge to develop a novel, islet transplantation device to facilitate the testing of therapeutic agents. Milestone 1 requires proof-of-concept test data in vitro. Milestone 2 involves in vitro validation of the device with human islet cells. 

AstraZeneca intends to make an award of up to $98,000 for successful completion of both Milestones. The breakdown is as follows: $28,000 for the delivery of a detailed research plan (Milestone 1, Part A), $65,000 for the in vitro data from the development and testing of the cell-free implants (Milestone 1, Part B), and $5,000 for testing of implants with human islets (Milestone 2). 

This Reduction-to-Practice Challenge requires a written work proposal and experimental proof-of-concept data.


Diabetes is a disease of the pancreatic islet cells. Of the four cell types, insulin-producing beta-cells are the most abundant. Without adequate levels of insulin, diabetes patients have difficulty controlling their blood sugar. One alternative to self-administration of medicine is islet transplantation. The procedure involves an infusion of isolated donor islets into the patient. If the graft is accepted, these islets will function to regulate blood glucose levels through the production of insulin. AstraZeneca is searching for a simple device for the transplantation and subsequent retrieval of human islets to support in vivo testing of therapeutic agents. 

Solvers are requested to develop a device to facilitate the transplantation of human islet cells as proposed in their winning solution to AstraZeneca Challenge: Retrievable Device for Islet Transplantation – Challenge 9933735. 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 December 31, 2015.
  2. Milestone 1, Part B – Following guidance from AstraZeneca, Solvers will be required to submit proof-of-concept in vitro test data by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on September 30, 2016.
  3. Milestone 2 – In vitro validation data of the implant device demonstrating viability of human islet cells and projected biodegradation. Results must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on February 28, 2017. 

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

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.

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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