Incyte is calling on creative thinkers to come up with ideas to support people living with graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). It recently launched the first-ever Incyte Ingenuity Awards, an annual program that will distribute up to $100,000 for innovative ideas that address unmet needs in the GVHD community.
The idea for the program was inspired in part by independent researchers who hypothesized that Incyte’s JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor Jakafi, which was approved to treat both myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera at the time, might also be effective in GVHD.
Incyte markets Jakafi in the U.S., while Novartis markets the drug in the rest of the world, where it's known as Jakavi.
In the case of that earlier independent idea, Incyte recognized the worthiness of the idea and expanded phase 3 testing to see whether the idea would hold up. And, in fact, it did—Jakafi won approval to treat steroid-refractory acute GVHD last year. (More recently, another Incyte med, JAK1 inhibitor itacitinib, did not meet endpoints in a phase 3 trial for treatment-naive acute GVHD.)
“It was a good independent idea, and we think this is a way to stimulate some more independent ideas from outside the company that we can then develop into something much bigger,” Barry Flannelly, executive vice president and general manager of Incyte in the U.S., said.
The Incyte contest is open to anyone, and the company has already begun talking to the GVHD community—including patients, caregivers, physicians, academics and other researchers—about submitting ideas. Incyte is working on press outreach, social media and optimized search to drive potential entrants to the award website.
Submissions are due by April 30. A panel of independent judges will then narrow down the field to the top three finalists, with a winner to be announced in August. However, Flannelly said Incyte is also open to awarding more than one winner if there are multiple ideas worth further development.
“We’d like to see ideas that are completed in a one-year time frame, and it should have a realistic approach that will someday give us an outcome. But it’s really open to any idea that will help patients living with this disease do better,” he said.