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Meeting room at the NCATS ASPIRE Design Challenges Awards Ceremony

2020 NCATS ASPIRE Reduction-to-Practice Challenge Winners

NCATS is happy to announce the winners of the 2020 NCATS ASPIRE Reduction-to-Practice Challenge.      
*According to the rules for these ASPIRE Design Challenges, non-U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents were not eligible to win a monetary prize (in whole or in part).

See details about the ASPIRE 2020 Challenge.


[Grand Prize Winner] Iterative Learning and Automated Modular Platform for Optimum Nonaddictive Analgesic Discovery

Gaurav Chopra         
Ram Samudrala         
R. Graham Cooks         
Connor W. Coley         
Panayotis K. Thanos         
Jun-Xu Li

Purdue University         
State University of New York (SUNY)         
Purdue University         
Massachusetts Institute of Technology         
University at Buffalo         
University at Buffalo

[Runner-up] Closed Loop Bio Assay-Chemputer for Next Generation Analgesics (BioChemputer)

Babak Esmaeli-Azad         
Leroy Cronin         
Sara I. Walker         
Philip J. Kitson         
S. Hessam M. Mehr         
James Zapf         
Evan Snyder         
Larry H. Ellisman         
Shaochen Chen

CiBots, Inc.         
University of Glasgow         
Arizona State University         
University of Glasgow         
University of Glasgow         
Visionary Pharmaceuticals Inc.         
Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine         
University of California, San Diego         
University of California, San Diego

The NCATS ASPIRE Challenges are part of the of the Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, or NIH HEAL InitiativeSM to speed scientific solutions to the national opioid public health crisis. The overall goal of the NCATS ASPIRE Challenges is to reward and spur innovative and catalytic approaches towards solving the opioid crisis through development of: (1) novel chemistries; (2) data-mining and analysis tools and technologies; and (3) biological assays that will revolutionize discovery, development and pre-clinical testing of next generation, safer and non-addictive analgesics to treat pain, as well as new treatments for opioid use disorder (OUD) and overdose.

The first phase of the challenges was completed in 2019 (for more details please see 2018 NCATS ASPIRE Design Challenges). This prize competition included design challenges in four component areas: (1) Integrated Chemistry Database; (2) Electronic Synthetic Chemistry Portal; (3) Predictive Algorithms and (4) Biological Assays, as well as an additional challenge for a combined solution for two or more areas. In November 2020, the second phase, NCATS ASPIRE Reduction-to-Practice Challenge, was initiated. The goal of this Challenge is to combine the best solutions and develop a working platform that integrates the four component areas. The Reduction-to-Practice Challenge consists of three stages: (1) Planning; (2) Prototype Development and Milestone Delivery; and (3) Prototype Delivery, Independent Validation and Testing. The first stage of this Challenge required submission of a plan for the reduction-to-practice of a platform that integrates the four component areas into a comprehensive solution.

See the winners for other stages and milestones:

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