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A good attitude toward Longitude
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Antibiotic resistance represents a global challenge, and in the United Kingdom, that issue is the target of Longitude Prize 2014, an international challenge with the goal of finding a fast, accurate, easy-to-use and cost-effective test for bacterial infections, which will allow health professionals to give patients the right antibiotics at the right time. And stepping up to support this initiative is CPA Global, which provides intellectual property management services and software.
CPA Global’s support comes in the form of a detailed patent landscape study, which the company will undertake through Landon IP, its specialist patent research subsidiary. The results will provide the Longitude Prize judging panel with a benchmark against which it can compare submissions in terms of originality and claimed speed, accuracy and ease of use. The study will also indicate the types of organizations active in this arena and what countries they hail from.
“We are proud to be supporting Longitude Prize 2014 and the search for a transformative point-of-care test that will identify when antibiotics are needed and, if they are, which ones to use. This is vitally important as the incorrect use and overuse of antibiotics is a major contributor to the rise of antibiotic resistance. We hope that the Longitude Prize challenge will be a catalyst for further—and urgent—innovation in developing solutions that address this major worldwide problem,” CPA Global’s CEO, Tim Griffiths, said in a press release.
The Longitude Prize, which is run by Nesta and supported by Innovate UK (the new name for the Technology Strategy Board) as a funding partner, began accepting entries on Nov. 18. Competitors for the Longitude Prize have up to five years to find a solution, and regular submission deadlines have been established, after which entries will be reviewed, with potential winning solutions submitted to the Longitude Committee. The Committee can select the winner at any point during the five-year period of the challenge, and the Longitude Prize website lists Dec. 31, 2019, as the closing date.
Longitude Prize 2014 has a £10 million (approximately $15.6 million) prize fund. British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the initiative at G8 2013. The Prize commemorates the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Act of 1714, in which Britain’s government challenged scientists to find a method for pinpointing a ship’s location at sea by knowing its longitude, one of the greatest scientific challenges of that century. Antibiotic resistance was chosen by the British public as the focus for Longitude Prize 2014 because, according to the Wellcome Trust, no new class of antibiotics has reached the market in 25 years.
“Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest global health challenges of our time, which, if not addressed, could cost millions of lives around the world,” explained Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of Nesta and Longitude Prize committee member. “Our hope is that the combination of the prize and greater awareness of the problem will fuel a dramatic acceleration in the search for solutions, many of which may be surprising and come from unexpected sources. We are grateful for the support from CPA Global. The patent landscape study will be a very valuable benchmarking tool for the judging panel when considering submissions.”
An August feature on Nesta’s website shared the results of a survey of more than 1,000 general physicians for Longitude Prize, revealing the need for easy, accessible diagnostic tools. Seventy percent of the survey participants said they prescribe antibiotics when they aren’t sure if a patient is suffering from a viral or bacterial infection, and 24 percent said they prescribe them due to a lack of easy-to-use diagnostic tools. Additionally, 28 percent of the general physicians revealed that they prescribe antibiotics “several times a week” even when they aren’t positive they’re medically necessary, with 90 percent reporting that they feel pressure from patients to prescribe the antibiotics. More than 50 million antibacterial items were dispensed to the community in the United Kingdom last year.