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RGI Launches Rare Disease Research Challenge

NEW YORK(GenomeWeb) – The Rare Genomics Institute (RGI) has launched the Helping Empower and Accelerate Research Discoveries (BeHEARD) challenge, a global competition that will award more than $600,000 worth of technology products and services to researchers involved in rare disease research projects.

The RGI is partnering with 18 technology firms and research services organizations to support research into rare diseases and efforts to develop therapeutic options for patients suffering from these ailments. The list of partner groups includes Maverix Biomics, DNA Software, the Jackson Laboratory, Biovista, Cypher Genomics, Tute Genomics, and Biocytogen.

Interested participants can choose from the list of prizes provided by the RGI's partner groups and then submit applications to use these products and services in their research. These include mouse models from Taconic Biosciences and the Jackson Laboratory; drug repositioning services from Biovista; bioinformatics analysis services from Tute Genomics, Taconic Bioscience, Maverix Biomics, DNA Software, Cypher Genomics, MediSapiens; and CRISPR cell lines provided by Biocytogen.

"For many rare diseases, there are not sufficient resources dedicated to advance the research towards diagnostics, therapies, and cures," RGI President Jimmy Lin noted in a statement. "By partnering with top biotechnology companies, we are providing rare disease groups access to the latest life sciences innovations and technologies."

Research proposals are due by May 17th. Entries will be evaluated by a panel of scientists from academic and industry. Proposals should include rationales and plans for each technology for which the entrants are applying. Eligibility details, application information, as well as the list of available products and services can be found here. Winners will be announced on August 5th. Participants whose projects are selected will be expected to provide a progress report on their research six to 12 months after the prizes are awarded.

RGI will host a webinar on March 30th to discuss the challenge.