Launch of CRACK IT Challenges 2022 Competition

The CRACK IT Challenges will help to deliver the goals of the NC3Rs and establish new marketable products and more efficient business processes.

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is a UK-based scientific organisation dedicated to replacing, refining and reducing the use of animals in research and testing (the 3Rs). The NC3Rs funds research, supports training, facilitates innovation and leads national discussion in pursuit of its goals.

CRACK IT is the NC3Rs response to the changing environment in the biosciences, to accelerate the availability of technologies that will deliver measurable 3Rs impacts, new marketable products and more efficient business processes.

Funding of £1.2 million is available through the 2022 CRACK IT Challenges for UK and EU-based academics and SMEs to develop 3Rs products and services directly targeted to meet end-user needs. Depending on the Challenge, contracts of up to £1 million for up to three years are available.

The 2022 Challenges encompass animal use in the key areas of endocrine disruption and CAR-T cell therapy:

Challenge 42: T-ALERT – Animal-free tumourigenicity assessment of CAR-T and other genetically modified T cells

This Two Phase Challenge aims to develop an in vitro assay that can reliably evaluate tumourigenicity of human-engineered T cell therapies with the potential to be applied to multiple immune cell types. For phase 1 of a two phase challenge, funding of up to £100,000 is available. For phase 2, funding of up to £1 million is available.

Challenge 43: Thyroid Tox – Development of an in silico model to predict thyroid receptor mediated human endocrine disruption

This Single Phase Challenge aims to develop a quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) and molecular docking tool that reliably predicts thyroid receptor mediated human endocrine disruption. One contract for up to one year will be awarded with up to £100,000 to deliver the Challenge brief.

The CRACK IT Challenges are designed to support the development of 3Rs technologies and approaches, which will improve business processes and/or lead to new marketable products. Applications must therefore include a plan to commercialise the results into a product or service.

The 2022 Two Phase Challenge is now open. The deadline for Phase 1 applications is 27 October 2022. The 2022 Single Phase Challenge is open from 14 September 2022 with a deadline for applications of 3 November 2022.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)