The Contest Asked Global Innovators to Develop Effective, Radically Affordable COVID-19 Testing Amid the Pandemic
LOS ANGELES (March 16, 2021) -- XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, is pleased to announce today the five winning teams in the $6M XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing competition, with each winner creating high-quality, affordable COVID-19 testing to help society safely reopen and return to everyday activities.
Chosen by an independent panel of judges, the grand prize winning solutions are radically affordable compared to what is currently available on the market; and are comparable to commercial offerings at measuring sensitivity, specificity and limit of detection, with a maximum turnaround time of 12 hours from sample to result
The winning teams are:
- Reliable LFC, LLC, Antigen Testing, Carlsbad, United States
- ChromaCode, RNA Testing, Carlsbad, United States
- Mirimus, RNA Testing, Brooklyn, United States
- La Jolla Institute for Immunology, RNA Testing, La Jolla, United States
- Alveo Technologies, RNA Testing, Alameda, United States
“We are thrilled to announce the winners of the XPRIZE Rapid COVID Testing, which awarded multiple winners with unique testing solutions to help prevent future supply chain problems,” said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE. “We started this journey to ensure communities across the globe have access to fast, affordable, and easy-to-use COVID-19 tests. We are grateful to have the best entrepreneurial and scientific teams on board to help bring their solutions to scale so we can properly reopen schools, businesses, and other vital institutions around the world.”
Following the December finalist announcements, the 20 teams sent their testing kits and protocols to two separate laboratories, for clinical validation. The independent judges, composed of diverse experts in the healthcare and COVID-19 space, reviewed each team’s lab results, testing concepts, and proposals before deciding on the winners.
“While vaccines are important, we cannot rely on them alone to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and future outbreaks, especially not until they are provided around the world, en masse and at-scale,” said Jeff Huber, President & Co-Founder of OpenCovidScreen. “These technological breakthroughs in rapid covid testing are providing a safety net to ensure the spread of the disease is contained and to enable a safe return to work and school, and to protect hotspots like nursing homes. These advancements are key to helping underserved, under-resourced communities get access to affordable, accurate tests and to ultimately save more lives now and in the future.”
Additionally, four other teams were selected as winners in the Open Innovation Track, whose approaches demonstrated high potential for impactful screening solutions, but could not be categorized as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Isothermal Amplification, Next Generation Sequencing, or Antigen Detection and could not be tested through the competition rounds.
The four winning teams in the Open Innovation Track are:
- Steradian Technologies, Inc., Houston, United States
- U-smell-it, Guilford, United States
- Ram Global, Zweibrücken, Germany
- TeraGroup, Herzliya, Israel
The XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing judges included:
- Dr. Rick Bright, Ph.D, Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis
- Shawna Butler, R.N. M.D.A., Nurse Economist
- Dr. Charity Dean, CEO and Co-Founder, The Public Health Company
- Dr. Paul Drain, Associate Professor, Departments of Global Health, Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Washington
- Dr. Anita Goel, Physicist and Physician, Chairman and CEO, Nanobiosym
- Dr. Michael Mina, Physician-Scientist and Assistant Professor, Epidemiology and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health
- Dr. Anne Wyllie, Associate Research Scientist, Yale School of Public Health
“The competition was open to all modalities of molecular testing, and the teams submitted an impressive range of ideas. The winners created innovative technologies in rapid PCR, novel antigens, and point-of-care LAMP as well as pioneering some of the first-ever olfaction and breathalyzer tests,” said Chris Mason, Leader of the Science Team and a Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Launched this past July amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this prize comes out of the XPRIZE Pandemic Alliance to bring researchers, innovators, institutions, corporations, and governments together to share ideas and resources in the fight against the current and future pandemics. Since launch, 85 organizations have joined the Alliance, where they have been able to share ideas and research through its digital collaboration platform Exchange, as well as through the XPRIZE Data Collaborative, a unique platform for innovators to collaborate, share and learn from data in a broad spectrum of fields in their search for solutions.
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, the XPRIZE community, and beyond to accelerate the best ideas, technologies, and innovations to market and scale them.
The Anthem Foundation and Anthem, Inc., serve as the Founding Anchor Partners of XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing. Seven major national and regional health plans are collaborating as founding partners: Blue Shield of California, Cambia Health Solutions, Inc, Health Care Service Corporation, GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation, Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc. (NJ), BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Supporting partners include leading healthcare, laboratory and technology companies: Google, Amazon, Ilumina, Ancestry, Testing for America, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Exact Sciences, Centerview Partners, Twist Bioscience, Opentrons, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Weill Cornell Medicine , Biotia, Inc and Medical College of Wisconsin.
Teams will work the remainder of the year to accelerate the adoption of their solutions on a massive scale. XPRIZE will oversee the development of a multimedia playbook documenting the testing protocols,plans implemented and lessons learned at deployment sites where this incredible testing technology will be rolled out. XPRIZE is currently inviting communities like schools, offices, factories, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and other communities to apply to be part of this innovative roll-out. For more information and to apply to be a deployment site, visit https://www.xprize.org/prizes/covidtesting/community-deployment.
XPRIZE is a global future-positive movement of over 1M people and rising, delivering truly radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. XPRIZE inspires and empowers a global community of problem-solvers to positively impact our world by crowdsourcing solutions through large-scale competitions, tackling the world’s grandest challenges in exploration, environment and human equity. Active competitions include the $20 Million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, $10 Million XPRIZE Rainforest, $15 Million XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion, $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, $6 Million XPRIZE Rapid Covid Testing, $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, $1 Million Next-Gen Mask Challenge and $500,000 Pandemic Response Challenge. Donate, sign up or join a team at xprize.org.
OpenCovidScreen is a non-profit founded by scientists and business leaders committed to an “Open Science” model to drive needed innovation and help solve the critical unmet need for Covid-19 testing that is Frequent, Fast-turnaround, Cheap, and Easy, to enable safe Return-to-Work & School. For more information, visit OpenCovidScreen.org or @OpenCovidScreen on Twitter. Donations welcomed at OpenCollective.com/OpenCovidScreen
ABOUT ANTHEM, INC
Anthem is a leading health benefits company dedicated to improving lives and communities, and making healthcare simpler. Through its affiliated companies, Anthem serves more than 110 million people, including approximately 43 million within its family of health plans. We aim to be the most innovative, valuable and inclusive partner. For more information, please visit www.antheminc.com or follow @AnthemInc on Twitter.
ABOUT ANTHEM FOUNDATION
The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the organization’s commitment to improving lives and communities. Through strategic partnerships and programs, the Foundation addresses the social drivers that will help create a healthier generation of Americans in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on critical initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at https://medium.com/anthemfoundation.
ABOUT COVID APOLLO PROJECT
Covid Apollo Project aims to enable a safe and sustainable return to work and school by identifying, assembling, developing, and scaling the most promising Covid-19 diagnostic opportunities. Covid Apollo was organized and funded under the leadership of RA Capital, a prominent biotechnology-focused investment firm, in collaboration with Redmile, Samsara, Perceptive Advisors, and Bain Capital. All of these firms will contribute to evaluating and scaling up technologies that Covid Apollo will accelerate.