Big news: We are extending the Longitude Prize

14 Nov 2018

Written by Longitude Prize Staff

We believe that our competitors and their diagnostics can create a paradigm shift in the way antimicrobial diagnostics are delivered globally to meet the challenges of antibiotic resistance. No longer will clinicians need to wait days for confirmation of their prescribing choices. No longer will we need to guess if we need antibiotics or push antibiotics to their limits with ill-informed prescribing. The Longitude Prize remains as relevant as at its launch in 2014 and we on the team at Nesta aim to ensure we find a winner.

The Longitude Prize opened for applications on 18 November 2014. Since then we have had more than 250 teams register to compete, secured more than £750,000 in additional grants to help teams progress, and opened up partnerships with some of the leading institutions in antimicrobial resistance diagnostics.

The Longitude Prize is searching for a transformative point-of-care diagnostic test to help reduce the misuse or overuse of antibiotics. Eight criteria define our Prize Rules, and ensure the winning product will be available globally and provide the largest amount of impact possible at a price that’s affordable. But, these same criteria also make winning the Prize extremely challenging. Afterall, transforming the way antibiotics are prescribed on a global level cannot be considered an easy task. It is because of these challenging criteria, and encouraged by the progress already made by dozens of teams, that we have made the decision to extend the deadline of the Prize.

Our progress

We at the Longitude Prize team at Nesta, along with the Prize Advisory Panel and Committee, recognise the great progress our competitors have made toward the finish line. Twenty nine teams have received Longitude Discovery Awards and we are excited to announce that Indian-based teams who have previously won a Discovery Award will now be eligible for larger Boost Grants (up to £100,000) from our Indian Partner, BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council).

We continue to actively fundraise for additional grants to enable more of our registered teams to benefit from these grant programmes. Please get in touch if you would like to suggest a potential funder!

Those in the diagnostics industry often describe the average lifecycle in the development of a diagnostic test to be between five and seven years. Launching four years ago, we have seen significant progress amongst our registered teams with teams moving from the laboratory into the clinic and some filing for regulatory approval.

Longitude Prize image, world map with blue background and light blue land

Competing teams need more time

The eight criteria of the Longitude Prize require teams to consider a number of factors over and above simply demonstrating their test is accurate and rapid. This takes time. Therefore, the prize will remain open beyond the original 2019 deadline to at least 31 December 2020 or until a winner is chosen.

The prize deadline has been extended, but the challenge remains the same. The eight criteria of the prize remain unchanged. In addition, the Prize Rules have been modified to reflect the changed deadline and to provide more clarity around the requirements to win. These revised Prize Rules will be available for download from our website on 19 November 2018.

Technology, lasting impact and forming partnerships

One thing we are very proud of is the diversity of technologies, intended settings of use and types of diagnostics our competitors are developing. This reflects the breadth of impact the Longitude Prize hopes to make across multiple clinical settings and in many differing locations. By not focusing on one particular type of test, for example, a test to identify bacteria in the blood, we are able to stimulate innovation across the antimicrobial diagnostic landscape and we hope that the legacy of the Longitude Prize will be that multiple new point-of-care diagnostics will reach the market.

Of particular importance to us and our competing teams is the ability to form partnerships with leading institutes that support diagnostic development and for our teams to make industrial and scientific partnerships to further their test development. To better understand our teams products and their needs, we undertook an in depth survey into their progress at the beginning of 2018. As a result of the survey, the number of registered teams reduced from 253 to 78, with the strongest and most advanced competitors now listed on our website.

By gaining a better understanding of our teams’ needs, we have gone on to engage with several leading institutes to provide advice and non-financial support to a number of projects. Support is offered when project’s products align with partners objectives and strategies. We will continue to push for these opportunities to enable as many of our teams to progress as far as they can in the competition and down the diagnostic development process.

As far as the prize extension goes, we are proud to continue supporting the teams we already have to continue and hone their work, as well as continue looking for opportunities for them and any new teams that register. If you are interested in finding out more, you can email us with specific questions.