CRACK IT has announced four new Challenges for 2023 to develop products and services that will deliver scientific and 3Rs benefits. This year’s Challenges encompass new approach methodologies for toxicity testing of pharmaceuticals and chemicals and systems to provide a step change in the behavioural and welfare assessment of mice.

What are CRACK IT Challenges: CRACK IT funds collaborations between industry, academics and SMEs to solve business and scientific Challenges related to the 3Rs. Over £34M has been committed to the programme, leading to the launch of 18 3Rs products and services. Learn more about previous Challenges and products on our Innovation Platform.

Who is involved: We invite UK and European-based* innovators to apply to solve the Challenges, working with in-kind support from the Sponsors.

When you can apply: Each 2023 Challenge will have a launch webinar between Tuesday 5 and Thursday 7 September. The webinars provide an opportunity to learn more about the Challenges and application process and ask the Sponsors questions. Register for the launch webinars and find out more about each Challenge below.

All Challenges will be open for applications on Monday 11 September.  

If you are interested in applying or want to know more about the Challenge competition, please visit the Innovation Platform.

Challenge 44: SensOoChip 

Increasing the reproducibility and predictive power of organ-on-chips through multiparametric real-time monitoring and data modelling

The organ-on-a-chip (OoC) field is rapidly growing, delivering improved tools for disease modelling, safety and efficacy testing. Despite progress, there are barriers to overcome. The ability to incorporate longitudinal, non-invasive monitoring capabilities through the application of advanced engineering would overcome current limitations of these models and encourage wider uptake.

SensOoChip is our second mega-Challenge that represents a leap forward in the size of the problem a Challenge addresses and is supported by increased funding over a longer duration. This Challenge aims to improve the utility and reproducibility of connected OoC devices by integrating real-time multiparametric monitoring.

Sponsors: AstraZeneca, Bayer AG, Merck Healthcare KGaA and Novartis.

More information is available on the SensOoChip Challenge page.

Register for the SensOoChip launch webinar
Tuesday 5 September 2023, 14.00 – 15.15 (BST)

Register now: SensOoChip launch webinar Challenge 45: CrossDART

Multi species in vitro developmental toxicity testing

Testing the teratogenic potential of drugs intended for the treatment of women of child-bearing potential typically involves evaluation in pregnant animals (rat and rabbit). These in vivo studies are not always predictive of human and are limited in their mechanistic insight.

This Challenge aims to develop and qualify an in vitro approach that can reliably predict early or surrogate indicators of teratogenicity of pharmaceutical drug candidates.

Sponsors: AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bayer AG, Boehringer Ingelheim, LEO Pharma A/S, Merck Healthcare KGaA, MMV Medicines for Malaria Venture, Novartis and Roche.

More information is available on the CrossDART Challenge page.

Register for the CrossDART launch webinar
Wednesday 6 September 2023, 10.00 – 11.15 (BST)

Register now: CrossDART launch webinar Challenge 46: FET4Thyroid

A Fish Eleutheroembryo Test for Thyroid Activity

Environmental Risk Assessment relies on animal testing to assess toxicological properties of chemicals, including endocrine disruption (ED). Currently, amphibians and fish are used in the assessment of ED properties of chemicals.

This Challenge aims to develop an assay using non-protected life-stages of fish to detect thyroid-active chemicals that is designed to meet OECD principles for use in a regulatory context.

Sponsors: Bayer AG and BASF SE.

Co-funder: Bayer AG

More information is available on the FET4Thyroid Challenge page.

Register for the FET4Thyroid launch webinar
Wednesday 6 September 2023, 14.00 – 15.15 (BST)

Register now: FET4Thyroid launch webinar

Challenge 47: aTRACKtive

Improved in vivo identification system for real-time, early-life individualised tracking and behavioural and welfare analysis in mice

Identification of individual group-housed mice is crucial for assessing their welfare and understanding their behaviour and social interactions. Current methods can only identify individual mice effectively and humanely after two weeks of age meaning that neonatal welfare cannot be readily assessed and valuable data is not collected.

This Challenge aims to develop a non-invasive and non-toxic system for mouse identification from birth that are amenable to automated tracking technology and home cage monitoring.

Sponsors: MRC Harwell and the National Mouse Genetics Network members Cardiff University and King’s College London.

More information is available on the aTRACKtive Challenge page.

Register for the aTRACKtive launch webinar
Thursday 7 September 2023, 14.00 – 15.15 (BST)

Register now: aTRACKtive launch webinar

*The competition is open to any UK, European Union, European Economic Area and European Free Trade Association body public or private.