The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that it launched the first phase of its Neuromod Prize competition.
Neuromod Prize, a $9.8 million competition, aims to accelerate the development of neuromodulation therapies. NIH seeks scientists, engineers and clinicians to submit novel concepts and clinical development plans to demonstrate solutions for stimulating the peripheral nervous system to treat disease and improve human health.
According to a news release, the first phase of the competition will award up to $800,000. NIH plans to launch a second phase awarding up to $4 million, then a third phase awarding up to $5 million, subject to the availability of funds. NIH will launch the second and third phases at a future time.
The Neuromod Prize makes up part of the Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) program from the NIH Common Fund. NIH said it hopes to use the competition to bridge the gap between early-stage research and clinical use for solutions capable of independently targeting multiple functions involving the internal organs of the human body.
Phase 1 participants will submit concept papers describing their proposed therapeutic approaches and their plans for conducting proof-of-concept studies, rationales for therapeutic use and expectations for clinical impact by April 28, 2022. A judging panel will select up to eight quarterfinalists to receive a share of the $800,000 prize pool.
When the second phase begins, which NIH expects to start in 2022, Phase 1 quarterfinalists will be exclusively invited to participate. Phase 2 will translate the winning ideas into preclinical studies. Semifinalist winners from Phase 2 will be eligible for the third and final phase, expected to launch in 2023. Phase 3 will move preclinical work into advanced translational and clinical studies as a step toward the regulatory approvals needed to bring the technology to market.
“Through the Neuromod Prize, we’re asking potential solvers to use the foundational knowledge and technologies that have come out of our SPARC program and take it to the next level with their innovative concepts and ideas,” NIH Director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, which oversees the NIH Common Fund Dr. James M. Anderson said in the release. “This competition is an exciting opportunity to come up with tangible plans for harnessing the power of the body’s electrical system to help transform treatments for millions of people living with chronic or acute illnesses.”