CRACK IT Challenges 2020 e-newsletter

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CRACK IT Challenges
2020 competition opens soon

The NC3Rs CRACK IT Challenges competition funds collaborative R&D to deliver marketable products or services for the bioscience sector to replace, reduce and refine their use of animals. Challenges are identified jointly by the NC3Rs and Sponsors who provide in-kind support and/or funding. Depending on the level of R&D required, Challenges can be single- or two-phase.


This year, up to £3.5 million funding is available to solve five Challenges that focus on delivering 3Rs, business and scientific impacts across diverse areas including wound healing, mouse welfare, animal-free reagents and in vitro immunology. The competition will open for applications in September.


Learn more

Interested in applying for one of this year’s Challenges?

We are hosting a series of webinars from 7 to 10 September to launch the 2020 CRACK IT Challenges competition. Each webinar will focus on a specific Challenge and will give you an opportunity to learn more about the competition, ask the Sponsors questions and find out how to submit a competitive application. Links to register for each webinar can be found below.

Challenge 35: In vitro TDAR

Challenge 35: In vitro TDAR

A human immune response assay for the assessment of immune modulation

This two-phase Challenge aims to develop a human in vitro T-cell dependent antibody response (TDAR) assay to assess the immune enhancement properties of preclinical immunomodulatory therapeutics. This could reduce the number of non-human primates currently used for this purpose, as well as better predicting clinical outcomes.


Sponsors: Bayer AG, GSK and Merck Healthcare KGaA


Learn more


Register for webinar (Thursday 10 September, 2pm BST)

Challenge 36: Animal-free in vitro

Challenge 36: Animal-free in vitro

Replacement of animal-derived reagents in an established human cell-based in vitro assay associated with an Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) Test Guideline (TG)

This two-phase Challenge will focus on adapting established OECD TG in vitro assays so that they are free from animal-derived products, delivering a robust, human-relevant and preferably chemically-defined version of the assays that demonstrates improved data quality and reproducibility.


Sponsors: AstraZeneca and Unilever


Co-funders: Unilever


Learn more


Register for webinar (Monday 7 September, 2pm BST)

Challenge 37: STRATIS

Challenge 37: STRATIS

Soft Tissue Regeneration after Traumatic Injury

The aim of this two-phase Challenge is to produce a human-relevant and high throughput in vitro or ex vivo platform that recapitulates the complex structures of skeletal muscle and the pathology of significant injury to them. This will reduce the reliance on animal models for studying wound healing and testing therapeutics.


Sponsor: Dstl


Co-funders: Dstl and EPSRC


Learn more


Register for webinar (Wednesday 9 September, 2pm BST)

Challenge 38: Mouse Mapp

Challenge 38: Mouse Mapp

An app to monitor the welfare of mice

This single-phase Challenge will focus on the development of an app to improve the monitoring of mouse welfare. The approach should use artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically detect changes in facial expression and/or body condition that can indicate signs of pain or suffering.


Sponsors: AstraZeneca, GSK, CRUK Manchester Institute - University of Manchester, The Sainsbury Wellcome Centre (University College London) and Agenda Vets


Learn more


Register for webinar (Thursday 10 September, 11am)

Challenge 39: Tat-Fit

Challenge 39: Tat-Fit

Tasteful tamoxifen for inducible transgenesis

This single-phase Challenge aims to develop a method that allows tamoxifen to be added to rodent chow without changing its palatability or consumption by the animals. This could reduce welfare concerns associated with tamoxifen’s bitter taste (e.g. weight loss) and avoid the need for invasive methods of administration when it is used to induce transgenesis in mice.  


Sponsor: The Mary Lyon Centre


Learn more


Register for webinar (Tuesday 8 September, 11am)