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.
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 searching for a simple device to transplant human islets to facilitate testing of therapeutic agents.
Diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and accounts for up to 30% of newly diagnosed cases in the United States. It is a heterogeneous disease which in part appears to be driven by chronic activation of key survival pathways. A limited number of DLBCL cell lines are available, however there are gaps, and specific patient subtypes are not represented. To add to the complexity of clinical diversity, new mutations are being identified in certain treatment-resistant patients. AstraZeneca is interested in innovative proposals to create suitable preclinical models of DLBCL.
This is a Reduction to Practice Challenge that requires a written proposal and experimental proof-of-concept data (and/or sample delivery).
The Challenge has a special award structure. Whether creating a model for DLBCL or a model of acquired resistance to ibrutinib, up to $10,000 will be designated for solutions that highlight novel technologies to generate in vitro cell lines, whereas up to $25,000 will be awarded for submissions that successfully utilize patient-derived tissues.
Solid dosage forms (e.g. tablets) are the preferred dosage unit for pharmaceutical products. These units are produced by compressing particulate formulations. A major problem in the high speed pressing of tablet formulations of pharmaceutical API’s (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) is they sometimes tend to stick to the punches during the compression process. This causes weight loss defects in the tablets and thus costly manufacturing defects during production. A model is required to predict sticking of formulations in high speed presses to prevent losses in production.
This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.
Drug metabolism is the enzymatic process by which the body modifies pharmaceutical substrates. The liver is primarily responsible for reactions which convert lipid-soluble compounds into water-soluble metabolites that can easily be excreted by the kidney. Occasionally, these metabolites exhibit chemically reactivity towards host proteins, leading to inappropriate binding that may result in adverse drug reactions. AstraZeneca desires an innovative approach for the quantitative measurement of covalent binding to cellular proteins.
Glucose levels change rapidly after meals, exercise, or the injection of insulin. For diabetics, self-monitoring of blood glucose is vitally important for managing fluctuations and knowing when to administer their medication and how much. Measurements are taken several times a day and generally require blood from a finger prick. Although the procedure is simple, patients dislike the frequency of sampling and accompanying discomfort. AstraZeneca seeks a minimally invasive approach to measure blood glucose without the need for blood sampling.
This is an electronic Request-for-Partners (eRFP) Challenge; the Solver will only need to submit a written proposal to be evaluated by the Seeker with the goal of establishing an AstraZeneca funded collaborative partnership.
Screening compounds for undesirable effects on the heart or blood vessels is a key step in drug discovery and development, ideally performed by using predictive in vitro assays. Cardiac and vascular spheroids are a new type of assay that, despite showing great promise, are not the finished article. Hence the Seeker to this Challenge is looking for a novel approach to improve these assays. Particularly, the Seeker is interested in solutions that provide a core for the spheroids that senses and reports pressure.
Neuropathic pain is a complication of nerve injury that results from metabolic, infectious, chemical, or traumatic causes. Currently, there are no treatments to prevent or cure this condition. The cost of conducting a clinical trial for new treatments of neuropathic pain is high and over the last decade, most of these trials searching for analgesics with novel mechanism of action have failed. The Seeker desires to identify novel, minimally invasive biomarkers to predict therapeutic efficacy of analgesic treatments in patients with neuropathic pain.
Oligonucleotide therapy is an emerging treatment option for various diseases. Binding of these short chain sequences to complimentary RNA can result in the decrease of certain gene products leading to a therapeutic effect. With specific targeting, the activity of these oligonucleotides could be improved by having a direct effect on tumor cells and other cell types associated with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
AstraZeneca is searching for a novel, platform technology to facilitate the selective delivery of short chain oligonucleotides. AstraZeneca intends to make up to 10 awards from a total award pool of up to $100,000 – awarded solutions will be advanced to produce proof of concept data in a subsequent Reduction to Practice challenge with milestone awards of up to $20,000 and a final award of up to $100,000. This second Challenge may be public or by invitation only.
Pharmaceutical R&D faces a number of significant challenges including budget limitations, lengthy development times and a high rate of attrition in drug discovery and development. These challenges restrict companies from pursuing many indications for clinical drug candidates, and potentially mean that important discoveries are not made.
To address these limitations, AstraZeneca is seeking novel clinical indications for a select set of compounds previously in clinical development. These “patient-ready” compounds, with evidence of human target coverage and manageable tolerability, are available for novel clinical indications- preferably in diseases with significant unmet medical need. These compounds provide valuable opportunities to explore disease biology, advance medical science, and potentially discover a new therapy for patients.