JDRF Announces Winners of the Theoretical Phase of Its Agnes Varis Glucose-Responsive Insulin Grand Challenge Prize:
New York, NY, September 17, 2012-JDRF, the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, announced today the winners of the Theoretical Phase of its first-ever public challenge, which called for novel theoretical ideas to approach the discovery and development of glucose-responsive insulin (GRI) to treat diabetes. GRI has been an elusive goal for diabetes researchers. The treatment would deliver a precise amount of insulin needed in response to circulating blood glucose levels 24 hours a day, reducing or eliminating high and low blood sugars and much of the daily burden of managing diabetes. For people with insulin-dependent diabetes, including those with T1D, current insulin treatment demands constant monitoring and arduous administration.
JDRF launched the challenge one year ago in partnership with InnoCentive, Inc., a pioneer in open innovation and crowdsourcing. From a pool of 63 applications, 23 were selected for final review. Three of those ideas were selected to receive the Agnes Varis GRI Grand Challenge Prize, a project made possible with support from The Agnes Varis Charitable Trust.
The winners of this stage of the challenge include one individual scientist and two teams of scientists: Luz Blanco, Ph.D., owner of Light White Innovation Technology in Ann Arbor, MI; Xi Chen, Ph.D., a doctorate fellow at The University of Texas at Austin, and research partner Siqian Feng, Ph.D., also a doctorate fellow at The University of Maryland, College Park; and Mohsen Chitsaz and Alborz Mahdavi, both graduate students at California Institute of Technology.
JDRF conducted a rigorous, blinded review of every application and assembled an external panel of judges to also review each application. The panelists' areas of expertise were diverse, including clinical pharmacology, diabetes research, endocrinology, regulatory, biochemical engineering, material sciences, and others. Together, JDRF and the panel selected three winning proposals. The decisions were unanimous.