South San Francisco-based Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy, together with Pfizer—its collaborator on the Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program (AIP)—and the Geoffrey Beene Gives Back Alzheimer's Initiative, have introduced the Alzheimer's Challenge 2012, calling for inventive concepts to help improve the diagnostic identification and tracking of Alzheimer's disease.
Specifically, the challenge seeks the development of simple, cost-effective, consistent tools to easily assess memory, mood, thinking and activity level over time to help improve diagnosis and monitoring of people with Alzheimer's disease. Today, easy to use, reliable, objective and cost-efficient methods to track and monitor Alzheimer's remain an unmet need.
The Alzheimer's Challenge 2012 supports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) call to harness new thinking to deliver better care and better health at lower cost and provides an entrepreneurial springboard to harness new thinking and approaches to improve Alzheimer's care.
"In the United States, more than five million people have Alzheimer's disease—that's one in every eight people aged 65 and over. The odds increase to nearly one-in-two for people who are 85 years old," said Suzanne Blaug, head of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy on behalf of the Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program. "As we look toward the implementation of the first-ever National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, the United States is taking critical steps to address the enormous toll that Alzheimer's is placing on families, their caregivers and the health care system. We're eager to collaborate with others, as it will take many of us working together to address one of the largest health care challenges of our time."
The challenge includes awards totaling $300,000. This incorporates $25,000 to five finalists and $175,000 to one winner. The deadline for submission of concepts is March 16, 2012. A complete challenge description, official rules including prizes, judging criteria and timelines, are available at www.alzheimerschallenge2012.com.
"We believe someone out there has the answer and shares our sense of urgency. The Alzheimer's Challenge 2012 is open to problem-solvers and we encourage anyone and everyone who thinks they have a creative solution to step up, submit an entry and be recognized," said Meryl Comer, president of The Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative.
Five finalists will be selected and announced by April 16, each being awarded $25,000. Concept refinement will be completed by mid June, with finalist presentations to follow. The winner will be announced at the end of June and awarded a $175,000 prize. Judges will be drawn from experts in the Alzheimer's community and other related fields.
The Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer is an equal collaboration committed to researching and developing selective products for the treatment and/or prevention of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer's. Its research focuses on the beta amyloid hypothesis. Scientific evidence supports the idea that preventing the accumulation and/or promoting the removal of beta-amyloid may have the potential to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and help preserve function in people with the disease. This theory is being tested in clinical trials.
Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy is one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, based in Dublin with R&D facilities in South San Francisco.