Monday, July 26, 2010

Archon Genomics X PRIZE Powers Into Phase II: Genomics Technologies Progressing Towards Prize Vision

The summer of 2010 is heating up in the Archon Genomics X PRIZE office. The hottest news is the Archon Genomics X Prize “Validation Protocol,” used to assess a competitor’s ability to achieve the accuracy and completeness requirements of the prize, is nearing completion. By September 2010, we will make this document available for professional and public comment—our goal is to build a consensus-driven process that will be embraced by the genomics industry. Keep checking the AGXP Home Page for updates on how you can contribute.

Why is this Validation Protocol important? Two reasons: (1) To win the largest medical prize in history, teams must successfully sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days for less than $10,000 per genome; therefore, a method must be established to declare a winner without controversy, and (2) the genomics industry currently lacks a benchmark for assessing the quality of whole genome sequences; therefore, our goal is to offer our Validation Protocol as the “Gold Standard” for assessing overall accuracy and completeness of whole genome sequences.

Long-Term Impact: This Validation Protocol is a necessary step towards the creation a new era of personalized, predictive and preventive medicine—eventually transforming medical care from reactive to proactive.

Upcoming Events: Plans are underway for the Archon Genomics X PRIZE Team Summit to be held in January 2011. The Summit will bring together members of the Archon Genomics X PRIZE Scientific and Ethics Advisory Boards, industry leaders, as well as the competing Teams; each one working to win the $10 Million Archon Genomics X PRIZE.

As of this writing, competing Teams are as follows:

ZS Genetics
Personal Genome X-Team
454 Life Sciences
(Stealth Team to be announced in Fall 2010)

You will be hearing much more about the Archon Genomics X PRIZE soon. Stay connected as we enter Phase II and lay the foundation for Teams to begin competing. Bookmark the Archon Genomics X Prize home page to stay in the loop as we prepare to make history.

By: Grant Campany, Senior Director, Archon Genomics X PRIZE

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making the Impossible Possible One Prize at a Time

By now, most people have read the press release about our tech-star studded May Benefit , “A Radical Benefit for Humanity, Making the Impossible Possible One Prize at a Time,” but I’m here to tell you about all the fun and excitement that happened behind the scenes.

A few days before the main event, virtually the entire X PRIZE staff schlepped ourselves up to San Francisco and set up office in the board room of the Taj Campton Place (Ratan Tata, an X PRIZE board member, owns the hotel chain so, needless to say, we were all excited about our stay). Though the majority of the staff flew into the city, one team member packed up an SUV full of supplies and made the six-hour trek, with her dog as copilot. Once everyone had settled in, it was time to work, work, work, finalize details, review the seating chart, address any last minute changes, etc. However, once the sun went down it was time to let a little loose and socialize over dinner and drinks with coworkers and intellects from the Visioneering meeting (which was held in conjunction with our benefit). Of course, it is not your typical cocktail conversation with X PRIZErs! Topics of conversation included education in America versus India and spinal cord regeneration. Stimulating conversation and engaging people…who could ask for anything more? Three hours of sleep and two espressos later, it was time to do it all over again!

The day of the event was incredibly busy, not to mention freezing (sidenote – if you are ever in San Francisco in May, bring your coat)! When the big day finally arrived, it was time for the real action to begin at Lucasfilms. The cafĂ© was transformed into our ball room, which featured wooden X’s as our center pieces and plasma TVs on every wall. Our robots, which featured virtual guests like Google’s Sergey Brin, began to arrive (thanks to Scott Hassan at Willow Garage), banners were positioned and then the guests started to trickle in. I’ll let the press release pick up from here about what happened at the event but I will add that Debbie & Mitch Menaged out bid all the others for my favorite auction item… a Chihuly glass sculpture.

What’s next you ask? We are doing it all over again but this time we’re taking the show to New York. So, NYC, get ready for the second X PRIZE “Radical Benefit for Humanity” because we’ll be seeing you November 6th!

By: Lindsey Burris, Executive Assistant, Alliances