Looking to bring a technological solution to a real-world public health problem? Check out the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2016 #NaloxoneApp Competition. It’s a public contest focused on developing innovative technologies to combat the rising epidemic of opioid overdose.
Participants are tasked to create a mobile phone application that can connect opioid users experiencing an overdose – or a bystander such as a friend or family member – with nearby carriers of the prescription drug naloxone. If administered in time, naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose and save a life.
Calling all innovators!
Computer programmers, public health advocates, clinical researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators from all disciplines are invited to participate in the competition. Participants are highly encouraged to register as teams, but individual applicants will also be accepted.
Registrants will have access to background resources, including information on the opioid epidemic, the approved formulations of naloxone, the public health recommendations for the safe and appropriate use of naloxone, and FDA guidance on mobile medical applications.
The opioid epidemic
This competition builds on work announced in the FDA’s Opioids Action Plan and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Opioid Initiative to take concrete steps toward reducing the impact of opioid misuse, dependence and overdose on American families and communities by making naloxone more accessible.
According to the SAMHSA, nearly two million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids in 2014. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine and illicit opioids, such as heroin and illegally produced fentanyl, have more than tripled since 1999 – with about 28,000 people dying in 2014 alone. Many of these deaths could have been avoided if people experiencing an overdose had immediately received naloxone to stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Naloxone is currently only available in the U.S. by prescription, but many states have taken steps to make it more readily accessible to first responders, community-based organizations, and laypersons, including friends and family members of opioid users. In fact, the number of laypersons that were provided with naloxone nearly tripled between 2010 and 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, people carrying naloxone may not be present when an overdose occurs.
The goal of this competition is to develop a low-cost, scalable, crowd-sourced mobile application that addresses this issue of accessibility.
On Oct. 19-20, 2016, the FDA will host a two-day code-a-thon. Registered participants can participate virtually or in person on the FDA campus. It’s an opportunity for entrants to develop their concepts and initial prototypes. All code will be made open-source and publicly accessible, and collaboration will be encouraged. After the code-a-thon, competition participants will independently refine their concepts and then submit a video of a functional prototype along with a brief summary of their concept by Nov. 7, 2016.
Dates to remember
Mark your calendars:
- Oct. 7, 2016: Deadline to register
- Oct. 19-20, 2016: Two-day code-a-thon on FDA campus and virtually (for registered entrants)
- Nov. 7, 2016: Submission deadline
Selecting a winner
A panel of judges from the FDA, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will evaluate submissions for innovation, usability, functionality, and adaptability. The highest-scoring entrant will receive an award of $40,000.
Following the competition, entrants also may apply for NIDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, subject to eligibility requirements set forth in the SBIR funding opportunity announcement, to further develop their concepts and to develop data to evaluate their real world impact.
The Naloxone App Competition was developed under the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Reauthorization Act of 2010, which grants all federal agencies broad authority to conduct prize competitions to spur innovation, solve tough problems, and advance their core missions.
Follow the Naloxone App Competition on social media using #NaloxoneApp.
For more information:
- Announcement of Requirements and Registration for the 2016 FDA Naloxone App Competition
- 2016 Naloxone App Competition Fact Sheet: FDA Opioids Action Plan
- FDA Voice Blog: FDA Supports Greater Access to Naloxone to Help Reduce Opioid Overdose Deaths
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.