The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced four Phase 2 winners of the Neuromod Prize, a $9.8 million competition to accelerate the development of targeted neuromodulation therapies. The winning teams will each receive $1 million and an exclusive invitation to join Phase 3 of the competition. 

The first phase called on scientists, engineers, and clinicians to submit novel concepts and plans for development. The second phase of the competition invited the eight winning teams from Phase 1 to build on their submissions by conducting proof-of-concept studies. The competition aims to advance neuromodulation solutions and will bring them much closer to having tangible patient impact, offering new hope to the millions of patients battling chronic or acute diseases.

Phase 3 participants will conduct IDE-enabling studies using diverse approaches to stimulate a range of targets, including the spinal, sacral, pelvic, and vagus nerves. The competition will continue providing technical assistance and additional resources to help teams accelerate and develop their solutions. Phase 3 will have a total prize pool of $5 million. 

Learn more about the teams:

  • Anthony F. DiMarco, M.D. High-frequency spinal cord stimulation reduces respiratory tract infections and improves bowel management in people with neurological impairment.
  • Juniper Biomedical (formerly RBI Medical). Highly precise, micro-implantable neuromodulation to treat stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder and fecal incontinence.
  • University of Louisville Research Foundation Inc. StimXS, neuromodulation of the lumbosacral spinal cord, automatically regulates cardiovascular, respiratory, and urinary systems after spinal cord injury.
  • University of Pittsburgh Department of Urology. A novel multi-channel implantable device for sacral-pudendal neuromodulation to treat bladder, bowel, and sexual disorders.

Accelerating the development of targeted neuromodulation therapies

The Neuromod Prize is a SPARC (Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions) initiative from NIH that is accelerating the development of targeted neuromodulation therapies. Proposed solutions needed to be tunable, accurate, and precise, and to demonstrate an ability to quantitatively assess and control multiple on-target and related off-target effects. 

In April 2022, 45 participants submitted Phase 1 concept papers, describing their proposed therapeutic approach and plan for conducting proof-of-concept studies, rationale for therapeutic use, and potential clinical impact. Solutions were then evaluated against the ability to demonstrate potential for high scientific advancement and clinical impact by selectively targeting multiple autonomic functions to improve outcomes for patients and/or clinicians while mitigating major off-target effects. Eight Phase 1 winners were selected by a judging panel, according to Phase 1 judging criteria, and each winner received $100,000. 

Phase 2 began in October 2022 and ended in December 2023. The competition judging panel selected the four Phase 2 winners according to Phase 2 judging criteria

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