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$175K Challenge Seeks New Antimicrobial Preservatives

Testtubes, beakers

(PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay)

28 April 2017. A new challenge competition on InnoCentive is seeking development of new types of preservatives for personal care and other household products. The competition has a total prize purse of $175,000 and a deadline of 24 August 2017.

The challenge is conducted by InnoCentive in Waltham, Massachusetts that conducts open-innovation, crowdsourcing competitions for corporate and organization sponsors, in this case Green Chemistry & Commerce Council, or GC3. Free registration is required to see full details of the competition.

GC3 is an network of companies and other groups, affiliated with University of Massachusetts in Lowell, that promotes green chemistry: the design new chemical processes and products to reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous products. In this competition, GCS aims to encourage creation of a new class of safe preservatives and preservative boosters for personal care and household products free of ingredients that would risk harming consumers.

The organization says regulatory bans and customer preferences have reduced the array of preservatives available to manufacturers of personal care and household products. Yet, the need for preservatives — to keep products safe during their shelf lives — remains, and without new types of preservatives, the current limited selection could lead to resistance by microbes, skin sensitization, and allergic reactions.

InnoCentive calls this type of competition a reduction-to-practice challenge that calls for a detailed proposal describing a solution, as well as evidence that the solution meets the sponsor’s requirements. GC3’s detailed specifications are spelled out in documents available to registered challenge participants, but solutions should propose chemical agents effective against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, as well as yeast, and molds. Preservative boosters, which may be designed originally for other functions but enhance antimicrobial effectiveness, may also be proposed.

Participants in the challenge are also asked to submit results of proof-of-concept tests, and if requested, samples of preservatives from the sponsors. A review team plans to evaluate proposals as they are submitted. Participants with solutions that merit further discussion with sponsors will be notified. Information in submissions from participants, due by 24 August, will be considered confidential by sponsors.

GC3 plans to award 3 to 5 cash prizes from a total purse of $175,000, with a minimum award value of $25,000. The group expects to invite up to 5 finalists to present their solutions at a meeting with industry representatives during February or March 2018. Participants will not need to transfer or license exclusive intellectual property rights to the sponsors.

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