2019 CRACK IT Challenges Announced

Posted on: 13/08/2019

The 2019 CRACK IT Challenges have been announced as Transgene Track, CleanCut, and Sharp and to the Point.

CRACK IT is the NC3Rs‚Äôs (the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research) response to the changing environment in the biosciences and exploits the sector’s willingness to embrace open innovation approaches to solve business and scientific problems relating to the use of animals.


The CRACK IT Challenges are competitions to develop 3Rs technologies and approaches which improve business processes or lead to new marketable products. The challenges fund collaborations between industry, academics and SMEs to solve scientific and business challenges involving animals. The challenges benefit all participants: industry gets access to scientific and technological innovations emerging from the science base and an end product which meets their needs; academics have a pathway for exploiting their research; and SMEs are provided with a ready-made market.


The first of the newly announced challenges is Challenge 32 Transgene Track. This involves the development of a sensitive, absolute quantification method for tracking AAV gene therapies and CAR-T cells in vivo. The aim of this Challenge is to develop a non-invasive imaging approach to determine the in vivo efficacy and biodistribution of (chimeric antigen receptor) CAR-T cells and adeno-associated viruses (AAVs). This challenge is sponsored by GSK and Novartis. Full information on this challenge can be found here.


The second of the challenges is Challenge 33 CleanCut, which is sponsored by Novartis, Bayer and Takeda. This Challenge aims to develop an in vitro model to replace in vivo tumourigenicity studies for safety assessment of genome edited human haematopoietic stem cells (hHSCs). Full information on this challenge can be found here.


The third challenge, Challenge 34 Sharp and to the Point, is a single-phase challenge with the aim of developing a device that enables injections in mice without losing material to dead space, allows needles to be changed quickly and safely between animals to ensure sharpness and sterility, and which prevents cross-contamination between animals. This must be competitively priced to facilitate broad uptake across the bioscience sector. This is sponsored by AstraZeneca, GSK, The Royal Veterinary College and The University of Sheffield. More information on this challenge can be found here.


These three challenges open for applications on 12th September 2019. The deadline for phase 1 applications (Challenges 32 and 33) is 6th November 2019, while applications for single phase competitions (Challenge 34) is 13th November 2019.


You can register for the launch event covering all three of the new challenges on 11th September by registering here. The Challenges Launch event is open to potential applicants only. Deadline for registration is 4th September 2019.

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