Ohio Awards $2.4M in Opioid Science Challenge

Ohio awarded another round of prizes totaling $2.4 million in its global technology challenge seeking scientific breakthroughs to address the U.S. opioid crisis.

The dozen winners from six states and Canada were judged the most promising of nearly 60 proposals submitted in the second phase of the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge.

Each winning team receives $200,000 to advance its technical solution. Among winning ideas were a device to treat withdrawal symptoms in opioid-addicted infants and a glove that changes color when first responders come into contact with an opioid.

Ohio Third Frontier Commission Chairman David Goodman, whose high-tech development panel is leading the effort, said since it was launched last fall, the competition has drawn attention from around the world.

“We asked the world to think outside the box, be creative and send us their ideas,” Goodman said. “They came from average citizens, researchers and health care professionals and people personally affected by opioid addiction themselves.”

The challenge emerged at the urging of Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a potential 2020 presidential contender who called in last year’s State of the State address for the commission to invest up to $20 million in generating science and technology ideas to fight the scourge that’s plagued Ohio and other states across the U.S.

What the panel came up with was a two-pronged effort, which included the $8 million Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge and a program of research-and-development grants. Commissioners made up to $12 million available in grants and awarded $10 million.

Prize winners announced Wednesday are eligible to compete for four $1 million grants that will be made available in the final product phase of the challenge. Focused on refining and priming technical concepts for market, the last phase begins immediately and runs through September 2019, officials said.

Winners of the second phase were: