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Challenge A Robust and Reproducible Assay for Monitoring Tau Aggregation

A Robust and Reproducible Assay for Monitoring Tau Aggregation

STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 92
Posted: Mar 26 2018
Challenge ID: 9934029
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Neurodegenerative diseases are featured by progressive dysfunction and death of cells in selected areas in the central nervous system, determining clinical presentation. Neuronal loss is associated with conformational changes in proteins that result in extra- or intra-cellular accumulation of misfolded proteins, representing the hallmarks of several neurodegenerative disorders, summarized as proteinopathies. Intermediate forms such as oligomers or protofibrils are thought to have cytotoxic effects to neurons, offering new ways for future prevention and treatment strategies.

Our Research department within the Neuropsychiatry Center of Therapeutic Innovation is mainly focused on such intrinsically disordered protein (tau, α-synuclein, Aβ) aggregation processes related to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In the context of Alzheimer’s disease, one of our strategies is to search for compounds able to prevent tau aggregate formation. Therefore, the Seeker desires a suitable cell-free assay that allows the robust and reproducible monitoring of tau protein aggregation.

This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.


Tau proteins are expressed mainly in neurons and are responsible for stabilizing the formation of microtubules in the central nervous system. The process by which normal soluble tau protein transforms to the insoluble filamentous version is at the center of many neurodegenerative conditions. Abnormally hyperphosphorylated tau aggregates in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and there is evidence to suggest that this aggregation not only correlates with cognitive impairment, but also contributes to the molecular pathogenesis cascade. In order to test the capacity of molecules to inhibit aggregate formation, the Seeker desires a robust and reproducible cell-free assay that allows for the monitoring of tau protein aggregation.

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.

To receive an award, the Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the Seeker. Instead, Solvers will grant to the Seeker a non-exclusive license to practice their solutions. See the Challenge-Specific Agreement for full details. 

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on April 25, 2018. 

Late submissions will not be considered.


We are an international and independent pharmaceutical company governed by a non-profit foundation, with headquarters in Suresnes, France. Since opening our first laboratory in 1954, we have been committed to therapeutic progress to serve patient needs with the help of healthcare professionals. We strive to provide future generations with a world where quality healthcare is available and accessible to all. Operating in 148 countries, we have 21,000 collaborators employed worldwide and a turnover of 4 billion euros in 2016. Entirely independent, we are able to reinvest 25% of our total revenue (excluding generics) into Research and Development, and all profits are used for further development. Corporate growth at Servier is driven by our continuous pursuit of innovation in five areas of excellence: cardiovascular and immune-inflammatory diseases, neuropsychiatric disorders, cancers and diabetes. We are a leading force in cardiology—number 2 in Europe, number 8 worldwide—and oncology has become a top priority in recent years; we also manufacture high-quality generic drugs.

Our three research centres are continuously involved in creating, testing, and developing new medicinal products, which are manufactured and packaged in our 15 production centres around the world. We have an active partnership policy in the field of biotechnology and we are investing in e-health through our internal WeHealth by Servier initiative. All our employees are driven by shared values and guided by a common vision. Together we share the passion of entrepreneurship and we are committed to therapeutic progress to serve patient needs. For more information, visit:

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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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