Who Will Win the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge?

The Buckeye State hopes to develop new tools in the fight against opiate addiction.

$6.5 million is up for grabs.

The state of Ohio recently launched its Opioid Technology Challenge, calling on healthcare providers, scientists, and entrepreneurs. The goal is to generate ideas that can be developed into solutions to curb the nation’s opioid epidemic. The most promising ideas will receive cash prizes meant to help bring their innovations to life.

The Birth of Innovation

The Opioid Technology Challenge initiative is in response to the staggering addiction and overdose statistics we’re currently experiencing across the nation.

Clearly, whatever we’re currently doing (or not doing) isn’t working. We need some new ideas, and we need them fast. Creators of this challenge hope to generate new solutions that will save lives and change the trajectory of our nation’s health.

The challenge calls for ideas that address:

  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Overdose avoidance
  • Overdose response

Each idea must include at least one of the following components:

  • Software/apps
  • Health information technology
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Medical devices
  • Diagnostics

Winning the Funds to Finance Recovery Tools

The challenge is open for two categories of participants – the general public and professionals. A panel of subject matter experts will choose five top ideas which receive $10,000 each, and 40 runner-up ideas (20 from citizen scientists and 20 from professionals) which will receive $500 each. Experts will be looking for submissions that “help identify solution gaps, new ideas and opportunities for combatting the opioid crisis.”

Submissions must describe the problem in detail as well as how current approaches fail to solve it. They must then propose a solution, involving technology, and describe how it solves the issue. Finally, the idea must include a description of the resources required to implement it.

The “idea phase” of the competition was open until December 15, 2017. Participants can submit their ideas online, adhering to the contest submission guidelines.

The Next Phase

Once the idea phase is complete, the “challenge phase” begins. At this point, the state will seek worldwide businesses and innovators to advance the proposed solutions. Challenge winners will also receive monetary prizes. These winners will then progress to the final phase (the product phase) to develop the solutions into products.

The challenge phase winners will be announced September 2018, and product phase winners will be announced August 2019. The total prize pool for these two phases exceeds $6.5 million. Ohio officials are seeking additional sponsors to continue to expand this prize pool.

Contest creators hope to commercialize products in 2020 and 2021 to deliver life-changing solutions to the American public.

Image Source: iStock