XPRIZE, OpenCovidScreen launch coronavirus testing competition

XPRIZE, OpenCovidScreen launch coronavirus testing competition

$5 million XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing competition to accelerate safe return to school, work.

August 21, 2020

XPRIZE and OpenCovidScreen have launched the $5 million XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing competition to accelerate the development of high-quality COVID-19 testing that is low-cost, easy-to-use, and fast-turnaround, enabling frequent testing.

The XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing competition calls on the world’s brightest, most innovative minds to develop new, low-cost testing solutions that range from testing devices with 15-minute results to distributed lab testing methods with “next morning” results. Frequent, fast-turnaround, easy-to-use testing enables effective data-driven tracing and isolating strategies. Most currently available COVID-19 tests are expensive, slow, invasive, and supply-chain limited. XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing aims to scale testing capabilities 100x past the current standard, the level of increase needed to more safely return to everyday activities.

To amplify impact, a $50 million “COVID Apollo Project” led by experienced life sciences investors and company builders including RA Capital, Bain Capital, Perceptive Advisors, Redmile Group, and Samsara Biocapital will work with OpenCovidScreen and XPRIZE to accelerate the best ideas, technologies, and innovations to market and scale them.

“Fast, affordable, and accessible testing is crucial to containing the COVID-19 pandemic and safely reopening schools, businesses and other vital institutions,” says Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE. “XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing is inspiring the best entrepreneurial and scientific teams to come together to work towards rapid, affordable COVID-19 testing at scale, and ultimately, getting the world up and running again.”

Teams can compete in one of four categories – At Home, Point-of-Care, Distributed Lab, or High-Throughput Lab. To ensure supply chain diverse solutions, entries are encouraged in a variety of underlying testing approaches including PCR, Isothermal/LAMP/RPA, CRISPR, antigen-detection, next generation sequencing, and more. Entries will be judged on innovation, performance, turnaround time, scaling properties and frequency enabled, ease-of-use, and cost.

“Any strategy to contain the virus is reliant on frequent, fast, and reliable testing, but testing supply chains are currently stretched to the limit. When coupled with accelerating demand, test result turnaround times will slow even further unless new solutions are brought to the table,” says Amir Banifatemi, chief innovation and growth officer at XPRIZE and lead of the XPRIZE Pandemic Alliance.

Seven major national and regional health plans are collaborating as founding partners of XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing – Blue Shield of California, Cambia Health Solutions, Inc, Health Care Service Corporation, GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation, Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc. (NJ), and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. The Anthem Foundation and Anthem, Inc., serve as the Founding Anchor Partners. Supporting partners include leading healthcare, laboratory, and technology companies Google, Amazon, Ilumina, Ancestry, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Exact Sciences, Centerview Partners, Twist Bioscience, Opentrons, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, and Testing for America.

“Addressing this pandemic requires strong collaboration across multiple industries and disciplines. Healthcare, technology, and science are coming together in this unique competition,” says Mariya Filipova, Vice President of Innovation at Anthem.

Teams must register to join the competition by Aug. 31, 2020.