How Discovery Fast Track works
Questions to ask before you enter:
Do you have a clear therapeutic hypothesis?
We are looking for a coherent and supportable hypothesis to develop a medicine that would provide therapeutic benefit to particular groups of patients.
Do you have a defined target?
You should have identified a specific protein drug target linked to a disease and be able to propose why modulating this with a small molecule could provide an effective and safe therapy.
Do you have enabling expertise?
The Discovery Fast Track Mid-Atlantic Challenge is a collaboration. You should have generated data which provides proof of concept for your proposal and, ideally, already have developed key reagents and assays.
If you answered “yes” to the above questions, then the Discovery Fast Track Mid-Atlantic Challenge is a great opportunity for you.
Workflow for the Discovery Fast Track Mid-Atlantic Challenge
The submission process.
Applications will be accepted starting Monday, October 3, 2016 and must be submitted no later than Friday, November 18, 2016.
The application should consist of a non-confidential, one-page summary that includes the therapeutic hypothesis, a brief description of the target, the level of completeness of the development of the target/screening assay and non-confidential technical information about the screening assay sufficient to evaluate scaling feasibility.
Applicants will be asked to agree to a waiver stating that no information supplied in the application is confidential and that s/he is entitled to make the disclosure to GSK.
All investigators who apply to the Challenge will be required to acknowledge that they have notified their Technology Transfer Office (TTO) that s/he intends to enter the Challenge. Specifically, investigators will be required to provide within the application itself the email address for one of their institution’s TTO staff members. Once an application is submitted, an institution TTO staff member is required to provide approval via email for that application before our GSK judges will start their review. Until we receive this email confirmation from an institution’s TTO, our GSK judges will be unable to view the investigator's application. If your institution does not have a Technology Transfer Office or is not associated with one, please contact the administrators of the Challenge at DiscoveryFastTrack@gsk.com.
All applications will be reviewed by an expert panel of judges and rated based on pre-defined criteria in order to determine the finalists. Up to 10 finalists will be selected. Judges are GSK employees and consultants bound by our confidentiality agreements; we are physicians, scientists, and researchers in the fields of biology, chemistry, medicine, pharmacology and other disciplines related to drug discovery and development.
The primary criteria used to assess both initial applications and finalist proposals include:
- Strength of the therapeutic hypothesis
- Degree of novelty and originality of the work presented
- Potential impact or benefit of the target medicine
- Tractability or feasibility of the target to be favorably modulated by a small molecule
- Investigator’s and institution’s capabilities to support entry into the 2016 Discovery Fast Track Challenge and for joint execution of a DPAc collaboration
Finalists will be required to submit an expanded description of the target and screen (5 pages maximum), with a key emphasis on therapeutic hypothesis, which may include confidential data. Appropriate confidentiality agreements will be put into place prior to exchanging any confidential information or data.
Finalists and their institutions will also be asked to provide:
- A statement about whether the technology and materials are subject to contractual obligations and confirmation that the institution has the right to share such technology and materials with GSK.
- Specific information required to complete due diligence in order to ensure that the research and associated technology of the assay is unencumbered by any institutional or external obligations and that the proposed work is potentially amenable to high throughput screening.
- A presentation outlining the proposal that they will present at a face-to-face meeting with the judging panel.
Each finalist will be assigned a GSK mentor to guide preparation for the final stage of the Challenge (including completion of key due diligence activities), and s/he will also be requested to sign, along with their institution, a Challenge Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement (CDA). Finalists will also be asked to initiate discussions with their Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at their institution to confirm the ability to execute the Challenge Materials Transfer Agreement (MTA) if the investigator is selected as a winner. This is a critical step because our offer to screen targets/pathways is conditional upon execution of the Challenge MTA by the winner’s institution.
All finalists will present their proposals at a face-to-face meeting with a panel of GSK drug discovery experts. They will receive feedback about their concept from judging panel members. After all the proposals have been reviewed, the panel will select up to 3 winners. The panel’s decision is final, and GSK is unable to enter into correspondence regarding the decisions.
These meetings will be held at GSK U.S. Research and Development Hub in Collegeville, Pennsylvania during the week of March 13, 2017.
Provisional winners will be notified shortly after the face-to-face meeting in March, 2017. Winner confirmation is conditional, however, upon execution of the Challenge MTA by the winner’s institution. Once winners are confirmed, a team will be formed for each winning project consisting of the winning investigator and relevant GSK experts. This team will then work together to design and execute the screening work-plan to identify optimal chemical tools. As part of this process, we actively encourage team members from both sides to work closely together, including site visits and opportunities for academic scientists to work in GSK laboratories. Winners will be publicly announced in May, 2017.
Once the screen is complete, four research outcomes are possible.
To get started, create your Discovery Fast Track account.