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Challenge Seeks Discontinued Drugs to Treat Rare Diseases

Pills and drug bottles (


A new challenge on InnoCentive asks for ideas on repurposing drugs no longer in development as therapies for rare diseases other than cancer. The sponsor of the competition, an unnamed biopharmaceutical company, will award a total purse of $10,000 to the best proposals. The deadline for submissions is 11 March 2013 (free registration required).

Rare diseases are those conditions affecting small numbers of people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, through its orphan drug program defines rare diseases as those disorders that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. Compounds or biologics designated as orphan drugs by the FDA qualify for tax credits and marketing incentives. FDA also has a grant program to fund development of products to treat rare disorders.

For this challenge, the sponsor is specifically interested in medications that were in development, but discontinued before they reached the market, yet could still have potential to treat rare diseases other than cancer. Drugs that are now or once were in the marketplace will not be considered.

The total purse for the competition comes to $10,000 that the sponsor says will be granted, with at least one award no less than $5,000 and no award any smaller than $2,000. This type of challenge, called an ideation by InnoCentive, calls for creative solutions to technical problems. All submissions will be reviewed by the sponsor, and all participants in the competition will be informed of the final status of their proposals, but detailed proposal evaluations will not be provided.

According to the rules of this challenge, the submission of a proposal constitutes a grant of a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to the sponsor to use any information included in the proposal. However, no transfer of exclusive intellectual property rights to the sponsor is required. In addition to the prize money, contestants with winning proposals may be asked to collaborate with the sponsor on developing their ideas.

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