Tick-Borne Disease Alliance and X PRIZE Foundation Create “TBDA Diagnostic X PRIZE” Global Competition to Develop Fail-Safe Diagnostic Tool for Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases

First Critical Step Toward Eradicating Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Which Have Emerged as Growing Public Health Crisis Worldwide

New York, NY (May 17, 2012) — The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA), a leading New York City-based nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness, promoting advocacy and supporting initiatives to find a cure for tick-borne diseases, including Lyme, has joined the X PRIZE Foundation, the leader in solving the world's grand challenges through large-scale, global incentivized competitions, to create the “TBDA Diagnostic X PRIZE,” the first worldwide competition to develop a reliable diagnostic tool for Lyme and tick-borne diseases. The announcement was made at TBDA’s first annual Gala in Times Square last night.

TBDA’s initiative with the X PRIZE will use the power of the private sector to raise the millions of dollars needed to tackle the complex issue of finding a reliable diagnostic tool for tick-borne diseases. Over approximately the next six months, TBDA and the X PRIZE will work with experts from around the world to develop a successful process to design a competition to incentivize researchers worldwide to help solve the problem of finding a definitive diagnostic tool for tick-borne diseases.

“TBDA is proud and excited to partner with the X PRIZE Foundation to seek to develop a break-through diagnostic tool which is the key to eradicating this terrible health problem,” said David Roth, Co-Chairman of TBDA’s Board of Directors and a Managing Director at Blackstone Real Estate Advisors. “Today, there is a worldwide need and demand for precise, effective tests that would be widely accepted by the medical community and available to anyone, regardless of location or financial means.

“A reliable diagnostic tool will change the playing field – it will save hundreds of thousands of people from needless suffering and also present a solid foundation of facts to the medical community, government, business and insurance companies, which is needed for effective advocacy and fundraising to fuel research and promote public awareness,” added Roth. “By working with the X PRIZE Foundation, TBDA aims to turn these diseases into relics from another era, just like polio, smallpox and tetanus.”

"We are proud to partner with the TBDA to develop a prize that will revolutionize diagnosis and improve treatments. Together, we will stop this epidemic and save lives,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation.

The TBDA and X PRIZE Foundation initiative serves as a crucial step toward eradicating Lyme and tick-borne diseases, which have emerged as a global public health issue with infections reported in nearly every U.S. state, throughout countries in Europe, as well as in Russia, China and Japan. In the US alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have singled out Lyme disease as the most common and fastest growing vector-borne, infectious disease in the country. Despite the alarming escalation of Lyme and tick-borne diseases on national and international fronts, there are no 100% reliable diagnostic tools available at this time. Such diagnostic inadequacies and limitations can significantly hamper timely and appropriate treatment of the early stages of Lyme and tick-borne diseases, and also allow for ongoing misdiagnoses and ineffective medical protocols.

Robert K. Weiss, Vice Chairman and President of the X PRIZE said, "X PRIZES are designed to attack market failures. The lack of financial and intellectual capital going into effective diagnosis and therapies as well as the misperceptions surrounding tick-borne diseases make it a prime candidate for an impactful incentivized competition. An X PRIZE would crowd-source innovation for rapid, reliable, standardized diagnostics and brings national attention to these devastating diseases."

According to Weiss, the competition for a reliable diagnostic tool for Lyme and tick-borne diseases falls under the X PRIZE Foundation’s Life Sciences Prize Group, which stimulates innovative breakthroughs in molecular biology, stem cell research, bionics, organogenesis, synthetic biology, and artificial intelligence in order to improve health care, extend healthy living, and eliminate illness and disease.

For more information about the TBDA and X PRIZE Foundation partnership, visit www.TBDAlliance.org and www.xprize.org.

About XPRIZE

Founded in 1995, XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity. XPRIZE conducts competitions in five Prize Groups: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE. For more information, go to www.xprize.org, “like” us at www.facebook.com/xprize and follow us on twitter @xprize.

ABOUT TICK-BORNE DISEASE ALLIANCE

The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance is dedicated to raising awareness, promoting advocacy and supporting initiatives to find a cure for tick-borne diseases, including Lyme. As part of its efforts, TBDA is embarking on a quest to develop a diagnostic tool as a first step toward eradicating the diseases. Working with others in the tick-borne disease community nationwide, TBDA seeks to raise public awareness through education and create a unified voice for advocacy regarding the current epidemic in order to make a real difference. For more information about TBDA, Lyme and tick-borne diseases, and prevention and protection, visit www.TBDAlliance.org. Follow the organization on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TBDAlliance and on Twitter at twitter.com/tbdalliance.

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