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Strategy Sought to Encourage New Anticoagulant Prescriptions

Human heart and arteries (Yale School of Medicine/Wikimedia Commons)

(Yale School of Medicine/Wikimedia Commons)

A new challenge on InnoCentive is looking for new ways to encourage physicians to prescribe anticoagulant drugs other than the commonly used warfarin for decreasing the formation of blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation. The competition has a total purse of $7,500 and a deadline of 27 November 2013.

InnoCentive in Waltham, Massachusetts conducts open-innovation, crowd-sourcing competitions for corporate and organization sponsors. The sponsor of this competition, however, is not disclosed. InnoCentive calls this kind of competition an ideation challenge that requires a written proposal typically of about two pages.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of irregular heartbeat, where rapid and disorganized signals cause the upper part of the heart, the atria, to contract very fast and irregularly. As a result, blood is not pumped completely into the the bottom part of the heart, the ventricles, and pools in the atria. The lack of proper blood flow raises the risk of clots forming, causing stroke or heart failure.

Warfarin, marketed under the brand names Coumadin and Jantoven, is a medication prescribed to decrease the body’s ability to form blood clots by blocking the formation of clotting factors based on vitamin K, which also prevents bleeding. While warfarin decreases the blood’s tendency to clot, it does not completely stop clotting. As a result, patients taking warfarin have their blood tested regularly to measure the time needed for blood to clot, and to keep that time within an acceptable target range.

Warfarin has other shortcomings, including an extended time needed for the drug to take effect, numerous food and drug interactions, and higher incidents of internal bleeding. Because of these shortcomings, other anticoagulants that target other coagulation factors, recently entered the U.S. market: dabigatran (Pradaxa, made by Boehringer Ingelheim), rivaroxaban (Xarelto, by Bayer HealthCare and Janssen Research & Development, a division of Johnson & Johnson), and apixaban (Eliquis by Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb).

In this challenge, the sponsor is seeking new ways of modifying the customary behavior of prescribing warfarin for atrial fibrillation, and switching to the new anticoagulants. The sponsor is particularly interested in a new strategy to help physicians better understand the problems with warfarin, and advantages to patients of the newer alternatives.

Ideation challenges, says InnoCentive, are used to generate new ideas, something like an extended brain-storming session to find a breakthrough solution. Participants in an ideation challenge may submit to the competition ideas of their own, ideas from others to which the contestants have rights to submit and authority to convey to the sponsor, or ideas in the public domain with no restrictions. Confidential information should not be revealed in proposals.

The total purse for the challenge is $7,500 with at least one award no smaller than $5,000 and no individual awards any less than $1,000. The sponsor will review the entries and notify participants of the status of their proposals.

By participating in the challenge, contestants are granting to the sponsor a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in their proposals.

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