SAN DIEGO and ST. LOUIS, Oct. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Assay Depot and Rare Genomics Institute have joined together in a unique partnership with 19 life science companies to launch the first Rare Disease Science Challenge: Be HEARD (Helping Empower and Accelerate Research Discoveries). Rare diseases affect over 25 million Americans, yet less than five percent of the 7,000 known rare diseases have any therapy. The hosts and sponsoring organizations are supporting rare disease research by donating $400,000 in cutting edge technology, services and resources, as well as a $10,000 cash prize to the winning research proposal.
Be HEARD encourages non-profits, academic researchers, rare disease advocacy groups, families of rare disease patients and for-profit companies to collaborate to advance rare disease research. Research proposals can be submitted between October 15-December 15, 2012 for any or all of the nearly 20 donated services. An expert scientific panel will select the winner for each donation.
Notable judges including Bernard Munos, pharmaceutical veteran; Atul Butte, Stanford professor; Randy King, Harvard professor, and Hugh Rienhoff of MyDaughtersDNA.org will select top proposals to be a part of a Facebook vote for the $10,000 prize. The rare disease community can also participate in the challenge by voting for their favorite research proposals on Facebook starting February 28, 2013, World Rare Disease Day.
"This competition brings the life science community together to study rare diseases in an unprecedented opportunity to empower afflicted families and under-funded researchers," said Kevin Lustig, CEO of Assay Depot. "Ultimately, we want the voices of rare disease to be heard, while helping to accelerate the science behind a cure."
Platinum sponsors include Biopta, Charles River Laboratories, DNA Software, HistoRx, Ingenuity Systems, and Taconic. Media partners include Ben's Friends, Drug Discovery News, Drug Discovery and Development, Global Genes | R.A.R.E. Project, Global Healthy Living Foundation, and Mendelspod.
"We are amazed by the generosity of so many companies offering their expertise, services, consulting and reagents to help advance rare disease research," said Jimmy Lin, President of Rare Genomics Institute. "We hope this gives a boost to rare diseases research and jump starts research in diseases that are otherwise not studied."
For submission guidelines, details on services and to submit a research proposal, please visit: http://challenge.assaydepot.com/rare-disease-challenge. Updates can be found by following #rarediseasechallenge, @assaydepot and @RareGenomics on Twitter and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/raregenomics.
About Rare Genomics Institute
RGI is a non-profit that makes cutting edge research technologies and experts accessible to rare disease patients. By providing an expert network and an online crowdfunding mechanism, RGI helps families source, design, and fund personalized research projects in diseases not otherwise studied. While starting with genome sequencing, RGI is working towards the ultimate goal of enabling any community to fund any research for any disease. For more information, visit: http://raregenomics.org.
About Assay Depot
Assay Depot is the world's leading provider of outsourced scientific services. The company operates a network of online research marketplaces that dramatically streamline purchases between scientists and more than 8,000 global research vendors. Assay Depot is changing the way life science research is done. To learn more about Assay Depot's enterprise software, visit http://enterprise.assaydepot.com. To use Assay Depot's free public marketplace, visit http://www.assaydepot.com.
SOURCE Rare Genomics Institute