New Digital Approaches to Target Discovery in Epilepsy

11 Submissions
261 Views
$25,000 USD
Due:  18th Mar 2024

Challenge overview

OVERVIEW

This Challenge sponsored by Angelini Pharma is seeking to identify innovative digital approaches to target identification in epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a heterogenous group of brain diseases affecting more than 50 million people globally. Approximately one-third of epilepsy patients suffer from drug-resistant seizures, highlighting the need for the development of novel, more effective therapies.

Drug target discovery research has evolved, over recent years, from primarily experimental approaches to increasingly data-driven strategies.

Challenges for target selection in epilepsy include the diversity of genetic architectures across epilepsies, the variety of targets and pathways potentially involved in different subtypes of epilepsy, and the relatively limited amount of human epilepsy transcriptome and multi-omics data.

This is a Prize Challenge which requires a written proposal to be submitted and there will be a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution. By submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to Angelini Pharma a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes. 

The total payout may be up to $25,000, and the total guaranteed payout will be $20,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,500. This will be determined based on theoretical evaluation of the proposals by Angelini Pharma.

Awarded Solvers further agree to grant Angelini Pharma an exclusive 90 day option to acquire ownership with respect to all intellectual property rights in their proposal with the commitment by Angelini Pharma to pay a consideration for the transfer of the ownership equal to $25,000. This one-time payment is in addition to the aforementioned guaranteed award.

Angelini Pharma can exercise this option within 90 days subsequent to the Solver’s notification of being selected for a guaranteed award payment.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on March 18, 2024.

- Login or register your interest to start solving!

ABOUT THE SEEKER & ELIGIBILITY

Angelini Pharma is an international pharmaceutical company and part of the privately owned multi-business Angelini Industries. The Company researches, develops, and commercializes health solutions with a focus on the areas of Brain Health, including Mental Health and Epilepsy, and Consumer Health. Founded in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century, Angelini Pharma operates directly in 20 countries, employing more than 3,000 people. Its products are marketed in over 70 countries through strategic alliances with leading international pharmaceutical groups. For more information about Angelini Pharma please visit https://www.angelinipharma.com.

The challenge is open to Solver as Individual or Solver as Organization.

If the Solver belongs to an Organisation, the Organisation might be: a SME, a startup, a research centre, a university, small or large enterprises directly or indirectly controlled by companies operating in the pharmaceutical business (list not exhaustive).

If the Solver is an individual, he/she must be authorised by the organisation he/she works for, whether this is required by the organisation.

The Solver should not be in any condition of conflict of interest with the Seeker (Angelini Pharma).

Employees of Angelini Pharma as well as of any company that is part of Angelini Industries group are ineligible to participate as Solver and cannot receive an award for this Challenge.

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THE CHALLENGE

Background

Epilepsy is a group of chronic brain diseases affecting more than 50 million people globally. Approximately 40 epilepsy syndromes have been described [1], and numerous rare diseases were classified as epilepsies, too [2]. More than 25 antiseizure medications are currently available [3], yet as many as one-third of epilepsy patients suffer from drug-resistant seizures, highlighting the need for the development of novel, more effective therapies [4]. To learn more about epilepsy, please read this review [5].

Historically, rodent models of acute seizures [6] have been used to identify symptomatic drugs that act on voltage-gated ion channels, GABA- and glutamate-mediated neurotransmission, and presynaptic modulation of neurotransmitter release [7].

In recent years, there have been concerted, international efforts to identify genetic variants and disease-associated genes primarily through virtual screening and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) [8]. As part of these efforts, approximately 1,500 epilepsy-associated genes and gene variants have been identified [9].

Other “omics” (proteomics and transcriptomics) data derived from analysis of human tissue samples have also been used to better understand the biology of epilepsies and to identify new targets for the development of novel, more efficient drugs [10-12].

Target identification in epilepsy remains challenging because of the large number of targets and pathways potentially involved in different subtypes of epilepsy. Complicating these efforts is also the need to integrate heterogeneous omics data (human and animal model from different platforms) and combining all these data with other sources of information, such as the scientific literature, biological pathways, and molecular networks.

The Challenge

Angelini Pharma wants to identify new, improved approaches to target identification in epilepsy, especially the approaches that would allow us to address the issue of drug-resistant phenotypes.

First, we are looking for new ideas on how to collect and integrate multiple types of data (including but not limited to the following):

  • Variants from GWAS studies
  • Omics data (human and animal models)
  • Biological pathways and molecular networks
  • Drug databases (both approved drugs and in development)
  • Target databases, e.g., the Open Targets initiative [13]
  • Scientific literature

Second, we’re looking for new algorithms and tools (including but not limited to the following): bioinformatics algorithms, graph/network approaches, and AI tools for target selection [14].

References:

  1. https://www.ilae.org/guidelines/definition-and-classification
  2. https://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/OC_Exp.php?Expert=101998
  3. Löscher W, Klein P. CNS Drugs. 2021 Sep;35(9):935-963. PMID: 34145528.
  4. Löscher W, et al. Pharmacol Rev. 2020 Jul;72(3):606-638. PMID: 32540959.
  5. Devinsky O, et al. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2018 May 3;4:18024. PMID: 29722352.
  6. Löscher W. Neurochem Res. 2017 Jul;42(7):1873-1888. PMID: 28290134.
  7. Sills GJ, Rogawski MA. Neuropharmacology. 2020 May 15;168:107966. PMID: 32120063.
  8. International League Against Epilepsy Consortium on Complex Epilepsies. Nat Genet. 2023 Sep;55(9):1471-1482. PMID: 37653029.
  9. Zhang MW, et al. Seizure. 2023 Sep 23:S1059-1311(23)00254-6. PMID: 37777370.
  10. Aronica E, et al. Research Square; 2023. DOI: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-2881008/v1.
  11. Srivastava PK, et al. Nat Commun. 2018 Sep 3;9(1):3561. PMID: 30177815.
  12. Bruxel EM, et al. Epilepsia Open. 2022 Aug;7 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S94-S120. PMID: 34486831.
  13. https://platform.opentargets.org
  14. Pun FW, et al. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2023 Sep;44(9):561-572. PMID: 37479540.

SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS

We’re open to any innovative solution, for as long as it meets the following basic Solution Requirements:

  • The proposed solution should use novel ways to collect and process data relevant to identification of molecular targets in epilepsy.
  • The proposed solution should be able to identify potential targets falling into one or more of the following categories:
    • Individual genes/proteins
    • New molecular pathways/networks
    • Known targets for other diseases that could be repurposed in epilepsy
    • New combinations of targets that may be used for the development of multi-targeted therapies.

We envision that an ideal solution to this Challenge would be a description of a novel approach (data collection, data processing and interpretation, etc.) followed by a demonstration that it can identify 5 to 10 novel target(s). By novel we mean a target whose mechanism of action falls outside of those that are currently used for treating epilepsies.  

Solutions that would provide additional information, e.g. druggability of the identified targets and/or any consideration on the efficacy and safety of potential treatments would be highly welcomed. Solutions that leverage data from other brain diseases related to disrupted neuronal excitability or neuroinflammation, such as depression, Alzheimer’s, and schizophrenia are also encouraged.

At the same time, we are unlikely to award any solution that:

  • Identifies targets whose relevance to epilepsy isn’t obvious, nor clearly articulated.
  • Identifies only targets that are known and characterized and for which there is abundant literature and patents in the field of epilepsy.
  • Offers only slightly incremental improvements to existing approaches.
  • Requires an extraordinary amount of time or computational power to implement.

Solutions with Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1-3 are invited.

This is a Prize Challenge, which has the following features:

  • The total payout may be up to $25,000, and the total guaranteed payout will be $20,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,500.
  • This will be determined based on theoretical evaluation of the proposals by Angelini Pharma.
  • By submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to Angelini Pharma a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license for the purposes of commercial exploitation of the idea or concept demonstrated included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes. 
  • Awarded Solvers further agree to grant Angelini Pharma an exclusive 90 day option to acquire the ownership with respect to all intellectual property rights in their proposal with the commitment by Angelini Pharma to pay a consideration for the transfer of the ownership equal to $25,000. This one-time payment is in addition to the aforementioned guaranteed award.
  • Angelini Pharma can exercise this option within 90 days subsequent to the Solver’s notification of being selected for a guaranteed award payment.
  • Angelini Pharma may also issue “Honorable Mention” recognitions for notable submissions that are not selected for monetary awards.

YOUR SUBMISSION

Please login and register your interest, to complete the submission form.

The submitted proposals must be written in English and can include:

  1. Participation type – you will first be asked to inform us how you are participating in this challenge, as a Solver (Individual) or Solver (Organization).
  2. Solution Stage - the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of your solution, TRL1-3 ideation, TRL4-6 proof of concept, TRL7-9 production ready.
  3. Problem & Opportunity - highlight the innovation in your approach to the Problem, its point of difference, and the specific advantages/benefits this brings (up to 500 words).
  4. Solution Overview - detail the features of your solution and how they address the Solution Requirements (up to 500 words, there is space to add more, and to add any appropriate supporting data, diagrams, etc).
  5. Experience - Expertise, use cases and skills you or your organization have in relation to your proposed solution. Angelini Pharma may wish to partner at the conclusion of the Challenge; please include a statement indicating your interest in partnering (up to 500 words).
  6. Solution Risks - any risks you see with your solution and how you would plan for this (up to 500 words).
  7. Timeline, capability and costs - describe what you think is required to deliver the solution, estimated time and cost (up to 500 words).
  8. References - provide links to any publications or press releases of relevance (up to 500 words).

Wazoku encourages the use by Solvers of AI approaches to help develop their submissions, though any produced solely with generative AI are not of interest.

Find out more about participation in Wazoku Crowd Challenges.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) March 18, 2024.

Late submissions will not be considered.

Your submission will be evaluated by the evaluation team first reviewing the information and content you have submitted at the submission form, with attachments used as additional context to your form submission. Submissions relying solely on attachments will receive less attention from the evaluation team.

After the Challenge submission due date, Angelini Pharma will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the winning solution(s) according to the timeline in the Challenge header. All Solvers who submit a proposal will be notified about the status of their submissions.

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