The $1M Avi Kremer ALS Treatment Prize, will be awarded in April 2017, to the team of Drs. Martine Barkats and Maria-Grazia Biferi, from the Institute of Myology in Paris, France, for their development of a gene therapy approach targeted at one of the most common known causes of inherited ALS. This approach significantly extends survival and slows disease progression beyond any results reported to date. For full details see News.
On June 6th, 2012, Prize4Life launched the $1M Avi Kremer ALS Treatment Prize (ALS Treatment Prize), with the aim to fill the drug development pipeline with promising therapeutics by encouraging researchers to extend the lives of ALS mouse models by 25%. When this goal was established, no compound tested in ALS SOD1 mouse models (under similar rigorous experimental conditions) had demonstrated the ability to extend lifespan in these animals by even 10%. This lack of effect in animals has correlated with a lack of effect in patients and over the past 7 years the ALS community has had to withstand the disappointment of numerous failed clinical trials. While the 25% bar set by Prize4Life is certainly high, this level of efficacy remains the best hope for identifying a new ALS treatment and bringing it to the attention of the drug development community.
During the first round of open competition, which was launched in 2008 and closed in 2010, the prize recruited 33 teams from both academia and industry and attracted 12 new groups to ALS research and drug development. While it did not lead to the identification of a winning candidate, the prize created momentum for continuation of promising research efforts. We decided to re-open the competition given the continued need for an effective ALS treatment. The revised criteria take into account changes in the ALS landscape in the ensuing four years since the original prize was first launched. We believe there is an opportunity for the updated ALS Treatment Prize to greatly accelerate research towards finding an effective treatment.
The updated ALS Treatment Prize seeks to recruit new minds and ideas to ALS research and encourage the generation of solid preclinical data packages. Through the prize initiative and supportive infrastructure programs, such as The ALS Research Forum and the Prize4Life SOD1 Mouse Colony and Reference Guide (in partnership with The Jackson Laboratory), we can infuse necessary innovation into the drug development pipeline and identify a strong therapeutic candidate worthy of advancing to clinical testing in ALS patients. By incentivizing both new and experienced ALS researchers, and providing them access to critical resources, the ALS Treatment Prize will accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of treatments for thousands of patients and families desperate for help.
In June 2015, 16 teams submitted solutions to the ALS Treatment Prize competition. Submissions for the ALS Treatment Prize were reviewed by the Prize4Life Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and staff as part of the process of choosing a winning solution to the ALS Treatment Prize competition. One team was selected to advance to the next stage of the prize involving independent validation of the results at a contract research organization (CRO). The validation stage is currently underway.
Note about conflict of interest: In advance of receiving any submissions for review, SAB members were required to declare any potential conflict of interest and recuse themselves from the review of submissions which present a potential financial or other material conflict of interest. The final decision making authority with respect to any award is held by the Prize4Life Board of Directors.
We are no longer accepting new submissions for this challenge. For questions about the $1M Avi Kremer ALS Treatment Prize, please contact Rebecca Sansoterra at firstname.lastname@example.org.