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Challenge Novel Approaches to Combat Antibiotic Resistance in Gram-Negative Bacteria

Novel Approaches to Combat Antibiotic Resistance in Gram-Negative Bacteria

Award: $40,000 USD
Deadline: Withdrawn
Active Solvers: 318
Posted: Aug 28 2019
Challenge ID: 9934224
Team Project Rooms are available on this Challenge Team Share Challenge Share

Antibiotics are drugs that either kill or slow the growth of bacteria. Under selective pressure, microbes can acquire drug resistance and these pathogenic strains pose a growing public health threat. Therefore, the Seeker desires novel methods to combat antibiotic resistance, particularly in Gram-negative bacteria.

This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation and experimental proof-of-concept data.


Antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative infections have emerged as major concerns in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare settings. To blunt the profound impact on patients and mitigate the rising costs of treating these infections, novel approaches, targets, and mechanisms are urgently needed. Therefore, the Seeker desires proposals that will reveal novel mechanisms and targets to launch drug discovery programs targeting multidrug resistant Gram-negatives. Additionally, the Seeker desires proposals addressing insights into the factors limiting small molecule uptake and retention in Gram-negatives (“permeability and efflux”).

A submission to the Challenge should include the following:

  1. An explanation of the proposed Solution addressing specific Solution Requirements presented in the Detailed Description of the Challenge. This should be accompanied by a well-articulated rationale supported by literature precedents.
  2. Experimental proof-of-concept data obtained as outlined in the Detailed Description of the Challenge.

To receive an award, the Solvers will have to transfer to the Seeker their exclusive intellectual property (IP) rights to the solution. However, the Seeker will be willing to consider a licensing agreement for a partial award if exclusive IP cannot be transferred by the Solver. An award of $10,000 may be offered for a purely theoretical solution.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on December 2, 2019. 

Late submissions will not be considered.


For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit


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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