Technology prizes from the previous 2016-2017 BeHEARD Competition can be viewed below. 2017-2018 technology prizes open to all rare disease researchers are coming soon! The 2017-2018 competition will also feature $100,000 of cash grants specifically dedicated to research on Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy.

The Jackson Laboratory


Prizes: Model Generation Service and Repository Mice

Prize Descriptions:

PRIZE 1: Up to $35,000 in mice to researchers from their collection of 1800 “Repository Live” strains

Does not apply to the common inbred strains and cryopreserved mice
This prize will be split by multiple winners, number of given mice per proposal will be decided by the judges

PRIZE 2: Generation of a mouse model (Up to $20,000 for each project) using genome editing technologies (knockin, knockout, transgenic)

Company Description:
The Jackson Laboratory ( and-services) is the definitive resource for uncovering the genetic and molecular causes of genetic diseases. With ever-increasing precision JAX® Mice, Clinical, and Research Services provide the most innovative pre-clinical models and applications, and is committed to providing the tools to propel science, uncover the complex molecular causes of genetic disease and enable efficacious drug design. Leveraging extensive partnerships with researchers and disease-centered foundations, The Jackson Laboratory’s unparalleled mouse models and research services are supporting the transition from discovery to application, resulting in individualized treatments and therapies.



Prizes: Reagents 

Prize Description:
$5,000 in reagent requests from our plasmid library to be used by the competing teams in crafting and executing their research proposals.  This is ~80 individual plasmids or kits that come to that total in cost.

Your order will be contingent upon your institution signing a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) for the transfer.  Addgene will initiate the MTA once your order has been placed.  Currently most plasmids are only available to scientists affiliated with nonprofit, research organizations.  

Company Description:
Addgene is a nonprofit, mission-driven company dedicated to facilitating collaboration and sharing in the scientific community.  Addgene promotes this mission by administration of a large, robust plasmid repository.  Depositing is free.  There is a small fee for requests to cover the costs of storage and quality control.  Our searchable database allows scientists to find what they need for their research. Addgene also provides extensive educational information and protocol support via our website and blog (

Addgene Fast Facts

  • Recommended by over 20 journals, including Cell Press, Nature and PNAS
  • Plasmids from over 3,000 contributing laboratories at 500 Institutions worldwide
  • >50,000 plasmids stored
  • Each plasmid is sequenced to confirm key functional regions
  • >700,000 plasmids shipped - ~2,500 plasmids/week
  • 52% of requests are sent outside the United States to 79 different countries
  • Samples shipped within 2 business days of MTA approval


Why use Addgene to request plasmids?

  • Convenient:  Gain access to many laboratories’ plasmids through one request
  • Access:  Addgene can arrange shipment to (almost) any country in the world
  • Time saving:  Receipt of plasmid within days after MTA approval
  • Quality:  Reliable source for sequenced materials 
  • Collaborative:  Participate in our Community!



Prizes: Systematic Drug Repositioning Service

Prize Descriptions:
Biovista is offering its COSS (Clinical Outcomes Search Space) platform to help identify candidate therapies for any rare disease of interest using a drug repositioning approach. Biovista will offer $100,000 of its services to project teams, using the COSS platform to support discovery and therapy development work.

Company Description:
Biovista is a pioneer of systematic drug repositioning. We apply our systematic discovery platform to develop our pipeline of repositioned drug candidates in neurodegenerative diseases, epilepsy, oncology and orphan diseases. Our scientists use Biovista’s technology platform to analyse massive data resources and identify non-obvious, mechanism-of-action based associations between compounds, molecular targets and diseases. We use this insight to find new uses for existing drugs or drug combinations, assess their risk profile and advance them to PoC and Clinical Phase IIa/b sooner, cheaper and with a higher probability of success than has been possible to date. We focus on empowering multi-disciplinary teams of subject matter experts with powerful platform technologies to develop our pipeline and deliver custom solutions for a drug, disease or molecular target of immediate business relevance to our partners. Biovista’s business model combines our in-house core strengths with outsourcing and strategic partnering to create synergies that are transforming drug discovery and development.

Collaborative Drug Discovery (CDD)


Prizes: Data Management Services

Prize Descriptions:

A package (up to 5 users per package) of CDD Vault for each of two winners, for the length of their projects, with a maximum of five years. CDD vault is a hosted database solution for secure management and sharing of chemical and biological data.  CDD Vault organizes chemical structures and biological study data, with differentiating secure collaboration features for internal or external via an intuitive web interface.  

Company Description:
CDD provides a modern approach to drug discovery research informatics trusted globally by thousands of leading researchers. The CDD Vault is a hosted biological and chemical database that securely manages your private and external data. Here are some CDD milestones:

  • 2016: CDD Vault = Activity & Registration + Inventory (New) + Visualization
  • 2015: CDD Vault adds advanced calculations, modeling, and visualization
  • 2014: CDD celebrates 10 Year Users Meeting together with Leading Scientists
  • 2014: CDD Vault hosts >23 Million Compounds
  • 2013: CDD Vault securely hosted >9 years – with 99.98% up-time
  • 2013: CDD surpassed >100,000 customer logins
  • 2012: CDD FISMA compliant and accredited
  • 2012: NIH picked CDD Vault for Neuroscience Blueprint Network
  • 2012: CDD securely hosted >160,000,000 datapoints
  • 2011: CDD won Bio-IT World Editors’ Choice Best Practices Award
  • 2011: MM4TB 5 year EU funded project with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-Aventis
  • 2010: GSK, Novartis, Pfizer, and NIH Collaborations announced
  • 2009: CDD Vault surpasses >1 Million Compounds
  • 2008: Gates Foundation 2 year grant (extended to 8 years)
  • 2005: Eli Lilly co-invested in a syndicate with Omidyar Network and Founders Fund
  • 2004: CDD spun out of Lilly, UCSF signs up as first customer

CDD Vault Presentation Flyer (click the image):


DNA Software 


Prizes: Primer Design Software

Prize Descriptions:

DNA Software (diagnostic assay design + analysis ) provides software for the design and analysis of genomic based detection assays.  These capabilities include primer/probe design, multiplex, eliminating false positives and absolute quantification from PCR data. DNA Software is offering its Visual OMP, qPCR CopyCount, and ThermoBLAST Cloud Edition that enable researchers to develop diagnostic assays and therapeutics with unrivalled sensitivity and specificity.

-100,000 qPCR data points analyzed.

- 3 Complete Visual OMP licenses (PCR primer/probe design) 

- Up to 1000 plates of qPCR CopyCount (DNA copy number from qPCR data) 

- Up to 500 submissions to ThermoBLAST Cloud Edition (scans for mishybridization against targets including Human Genome, Ref Seq, etc.) 

- Multiple winners

Company Description:
For over a decade, DNAS has integrated our world-leading expertise in nucleic acid thermodynamics into our suite of PCR design software. Our core technology has been further enhanced through a series of 9 NIH grants on studies ranging from PCR design, modified nucleotides, DNA kinetics, ThermoBLAST, Antisense design, and RNA 3D structure prediction. DNAS products have been licensed to leaders in pharma, biotech, agriculture, biodefense, regulatory agencies and academic institutions to help address the issues of false positives and complex multiplex design.

Taconic Biosciences


Prize: Mouse Model

Prize Description: Generation of a cohort of heterozygous animals bearing either a deletion or a point mutation in a selected gene. The service includes: generation of founder animals using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology; germline transmission of the desired mutation, and cryopreservation and storage of the line.

Company Description:
Taconic Biosciences has been a leading provider of research models for over 60 years. Through all six decades, we’ve had a singular mission—to create a difference in human health by providing the best, most relevant mouse and rat models to researchers in the life science community. Why? Because better models are more predictive and relevant, leading to greater insights into diseases and their treatments. 
Better, more predictive models also mean fewer animals are needed to get to biological insight. Taconic embraces a high ethical standard for animal use in research, and ensures that animals in our facilities receive the highest levels of care and compassion. 



Prize descriptions:

  • 5 free TurboKnockout vector constructions for TurboKnockout projects (valued at $8,950 each, for a total value of $44,750) []
  • 5 free Rosa26 CRISPR large fragment knockin vector constructions + F1 breeding (valued at $6,850 each, for a total value of $34,250). []
  • 5 free transgenic vectors (up to $500 value) and preparation of DNA for injection and genotyping strategy (valued at $850 each, for a total value of $4,250) []
  • 10 free lentiviral vectors, up to $400 in value each (valued at $400 each, for a total of $4,000). Vectors can be easily designed with our online platform, VectorBuilder []; additional Lentiviral designs can be made by selecting the appropriate vector type at []


Company Description:

Cyagen Biosciences is the world's largest provider of custom-designed transgenic and knockout mouse services, a leader in molecular biology tools and manufacturer of research-use stem cells and related culture reagents. Cyagen prides itself on its premium customer service:  including price-matching, client access to complimentary technical consultations, full confidentiality and a 100% money-back service guarantee. We offer a "one-stop shop" tailored to all your gene research needs including BAC and PiggyBac transgenic services, CRISPR-mediated mouse and rat genome editing and our new technology,Turboknockout® - an ES cell mediated service that provides you with conditional knockout, reporter knockin and humanization mouse models in as little as 6-8 months. Cyagen recently introduced Vectorbuilder - a revolutionary new online vector construction and ordering platform that allows you to design and order your custom vectors faster and cheaper than doing it yourself. Founded in 2006, Cyagen Biosciences Inc. is a 300-employee contract research organization and cell culture product manufacturer headquartered in Silicon Valley, California, and with offices in Germany and China. Cyagen’s mission is to bring outstanding-quality research reagents, tools, and services to the worldwide biological research community at highly competitive prices.



Prize Description: Ten 3-pack annual subscriptions to SnapGene’s software.

Company Description:

SnapGene was born of frustration. Ben Glick, a cell biologist and experienced cloner, realized that a huge amount of effort is wasted because researchers make avoidable mistakes when planning their cloning procedures, and because records of cloning procedures are incomplete. In the 21st century, many molecular biologists still don't know the full properties of the DNA molecules they are using.

This problem has a solution: good software. If molecular biology software were easier to use than pen and paper, researchers would naturally plan their cloning procedures with computers, and electronic records could be automatically produced. To achieve this goal, a group of scientists, software engineers, usability experts, and product developers assembled to form GSL Biotech. Our company won Phase I and II SBIR grants from the NIH to develop SnapGene. Working with labs around the world, we created software to meet the everyday needs of molecular biologists. Each enhancement has generated new ideas, and SnapGene is still in active development.

Charles River

Offer: One Custom RNAi Mouse Model

Description of Prize:

RNA interference (RNAi) is a gene editing technique that suppresses the function of target genes while leaving the endogenous genes in place. Compared to traditional gene knockout models, RNAi mice can be generated more quickly and, thanks to the inducible and reversible nature of the alteration, offer more flexibility in experimental design.

Charles River has partnered with the innovative genetic engineering company Mirimus to bring custom RNAi mice to our customers. Our state-of-the-art microinjection services transform the custom ES cells designed by Mirimus into your in vivo research model in about 12 weeks.

RNAi-mediated gene silencing puts the power of complex genetic modifications within reach more quickly and efficiently than traditional knockout technologies or intercross methods.

·         Inducible and reversible nature of gene suppression allows essential function or embryonic lethal genes to be manipulated in vivo

·         Suppressing gene function better mimics the activity of small-molecule agonists compared to knocking out the gene

·         Controlling the timing and duration of gene suppression allows increased flexibility in experimental design

Company Description:

Charles River provides essential products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and leading academic institutions around the globe accelerate their research and drug development efforts. Our dedicated employees are focused on providing clients with exactly what they need to improve and expedite the discovery, early-stage development and safe manufacture of new therapies for the patients who need them. To learn more about our unique portfolio and breadth of services, visit