[Ip-health] Life Technologies funds seven $1 million medical innovation prizes

James Love james.love at keionline.org
Wed Jan 5 09:45:34 PST 2011


The seven $1 million Life Technologies medical innovation prizes

By James Love
Created 5 Jan 2011 - 9:13am

On December 14, 2010, Life Technologies Corporation [1], which among
other things owns Ion Torrent [2], which sells the Ion Personal Genome
Machine sequencer, announced seven new medical innovation prizes. The
first three prizes are related to improvements in the Ion semiconductor
sequencing products. Each of the three sequencer prizes is funded at $1
million, and will be awarded to contestants that can achieve the
following goals:

1. produce twice as much sequence data,
2. do it twice as fast, and
3. do it with twice the accuracy.

In addition, Life Technologies says it will fund four additional $1
million prizes relating to their products, to be announced later this
year. The Life Technology prizes seem to be inspired by the $1 million
Netflix prize [3], or the $10 million prize to enhance yields from the
Barrack silver mine in Argentina [4]. (More on innovation prizes here

The following is from the December 14, 2010 press release [6].

Life Grand Challenges Contest

Life Technologies also announced a first-of-its-kind crowd sourcing
initiative in the life sciences tools and technology industry, called
the Life Grand Challenges Contest. The goal of the $7 million
competition is to unlock even bigger opportunities the company is
witnessing, while accelerating innovation within the life science

There will be seven individual challenges, each with a $1 million prize.
The first three challenges are focused on Ion semiconductor sequencing.
The remaining four challenges will be related to Life Technologies
products and will be announced later in 2011. The three Ion challenges
are to 1) produce twice as much sequence data, 2) do it twice as fast,
and 3) do it with twice the accuracy. The threshold for winning is to
produce results 2X better than the best internal Ion Torrent record at
the time of submission.

Life Technologies has a legacy of democratizing new technologies, and
the speed and low cost of semiconductor-based technology will bring DNA
sequencing into new areas we can’t even imagine, said Gregory T. Lucier,
Chairman and CEO of Life Technologies. "While we are on track with our
internal research and development, The Grand Challenges are intended to
incentivize the user communities that inevitably grow around open
technology and encourage them to help accelerate discovery even further.
With its ease-of-use and scalability, the Ion semiconductor sequencing
technology is the natural place to start."

The judges for the first three Grand Challenges include Dr. Rothberg,
Dr. Sidney Altman, who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and
Professor Sir Aaron Klug, who won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Additional information about the first three Grand Challenges, including
terms and conditions, will be released early in 2011. By registering
your email address at www.lifetechnologies.com/grandchallenges [7], you
will be sent the most up-to-date information on the contest when
available. You can also join the conversation about the contest on
Twitter: @Grand_Challenge

Additional news reports about the prize:

Alla Katsnelson, DNA sequencing for the masses: The launch of a new
technology marks a move towards small-scale sequencing in every lab
Nature, 14 December 2010, doi:10.1038/news.2010.674

Kevin Davies , Ion Torrent’s $3-Million Community Incentive Plan [9], 
bio-itworld.com, December 14, 2010.

Life Technologies Announces $7M Contest as Ion Torrent Sequencer is
Launched [10], Genomeweb.com, December 14, 2010

Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Ion Torrent seeks "smart" input
on new gene machine [11], Reuters.com, December 14, 2010.

Marcus Wohlsen, Life hack: DNA sequencing guru seeks wisdom of the crowd
to make new machine better [12], Dec 15, 2010.

Articles about the Ion sequencer:

Matthew Herper, The Next $100 Billion Technology Business [13], Forbes,
December 30, 2010

Andrew Pollack, "Taking DNA Sequencing to the Masses [14], New York
Times, January 4, 2011.

Source URL: http://keionline.org/node/1050
[1] http://www.iontorrent.com/media-releases/
[2] http://www.iontorrent.com/
[3] http://www.netflixprize.com/
[4] http://keionline.org/node/105
[5] http://www.keionline.org/prizes
[7] http://www.lifetechnologies.com/grandchallenges
[8] http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101214/full/news.2010.674.html
[11] http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1322044620101214
[14] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/health/05gene.html

James Love, Director, Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org | http://www.twitter.com/jamie_love
Wk: +1.202.332.2670 | US Mobile +1.202.361.3040 | Geneva Mobile +41.76.413.6584

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