Today, the Lead Detect Prize announced five Phase 1 winners. The Lead Detect Prize is a $1 million challenge, on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to enhance testing for lead in children. The winning teams will each receive $30,000 and an exclusive invitation to join Phase 2 of the challenge.

Phase 1 called upon researchers and innovators to submit concepts and development plans for advanced point-of-care blood lead tests. Entrants’ concept papers proposed a range of high-potential solutions, including adapting techniques such as spectroscopy and microfluidics, as well as translating approaches used in detecting lead and other heavy metals in the environment.

Congratulations to the Phase 1 winners:

  • Fluorezyme’s dual amplification strategy would use DNA and light to detect lead in whole blood with a device that would fit in a user’s hand.
  • GlucoSentient and UT Austin’s concept would adapt a blood glucose meter platform and use a DNAzyme sensor to detect lead in a blood sample.
  • Meridian Bioscience’s device would use electrochemical sensors to detect lead by measuring the electrical current in a blood sample.
  • OndaVia’s solution would apply optical technology to detect the presence of lead using a distinctive fingerprint signature.
  • SensiLead’s plug-and-play sensor would apply electrochemistry to detect lead and include a mobile app that would allow users to test and track results.

Phase 1 winners will be exclusively invited to enter Phase 2, which includes a virtual accelerator. Phase 2 teams will submit detailed designs and early evidence of solution performance. The challenge will provide technical assistance and resources — including access to experts in user-centered design and diagnostics regulation — to help teams develop their solutions. Up to three Phase 2 winners will receive a share of the $850,000 Phase 2 prize pool.

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