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Federal Agencies Partner to Launch the Transform Tox Testing Challenge to Improve Chemical Screening

Release Date: 01/08/2016
Contact Information: Robert Daguillard, daguillard.robert@epa.gov, 202-564-6618

Up to $1 million to be distributed among winning submissions

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), and NIH’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) within the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) are announcing a new challenge that will award up to $1 million to improve the relevance and predictivity of data generated from automated chemical screening technology used for toxicity testing.

Out of thousands of chemicals in commerce today, very few have been fully evaluated for potential health effects. Scientists from EPA, NIEHS/NTP, and NCATS are using high-throughput screening (HTS) assays to evaluate the potential health effects of thousands of chemicals. High-throughput screening uses automated methods that allow for a large number of chemicals to be rapidly evaluated for a specific type of biological activity.

Current HTS assays do not fully incorporate chemical metabolism, so they may miss chemicals that are metabolized to a more toxic form in the body. The challenge announced today, Transform Tox Testing Challenge: Innovating for Metabolism, is calling on innovative thinkers to find new ways to incorporate physiological levels of chemical metabolism into HTS assays. This will help researchers more accurately assess effects of chemicals and better protect human health.

Teams will compete in three stages for a total award of $1 million. The first stage, opening today and closing April 8 seeks practical designs that may be fully implemented. Up to ten submissions may receive a prize of $10,000 each and an invitation to continue on to the next stage.

The second stage requires a prototype that demonstrates the proposed idea in use. Up to five participants may be awarded up to $100,000 each and invited to participate in the final stage. The final stage requires a commercially viable method or technology for EPA and its partners to demonstrate and test. Based on this testing one participant may be awarded up to $400,000 for delivery of a method or device that will result in technologies that can provide metabolic competence to HTS assays.

All segments of industry, government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and others are encouraged to enter.

For more information on the Tox Testing Challenge, visit:
www.transformtoxtesting.com

EPA is a federal agency whose mission is to protect human health and the environment. For more information about EPA, visit
http://www2.epa.gov/aboutepa/our-mission-and-what-we-do.

NTP is a federal, interagency program, headquartered at the NIEHS, whose goal is to safeguard the public by identifying substances in the environment that may affect human health. For more information about NTP and its programs, visit
http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) is a distinctly different entity in the research ecosystem. Rather than targeting a particular disease or fundamental science, NCATS focuses on what is common across diseases and the translational process. The Center emphasizes innovation and deliverables, relying on the power of data and new technologies to develop, demonstrate and disseminate advancements in translational science that bring about tangible improvements in human health. For more information, visit
https://ncats.nih.gov

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