Sprint Challenge Brief:

Diagnostic technologies for identification of SARS-CoV-2 from human nasal, buccal, or saliva samples

Submissions Closed    Submissions Closed

Sprint Challenge Description

On behalf of a coalition of industry and government sponsors, TechConnect Ventures is seeking immediate responses demonstrating technologies which can rapidly identify asymptomatic COVID-19 patients from easy to obtain samples, such as saliva and buccal swabs. Of particular interest are rapid point of care diagnostics that utilize a sample type that can be obtained by an individual without medical expertise and easily read either through visual examination or an easily accessible third party such as a smartphone-enabled app. Ideal solutions will provide or enable a low-cost, easily implemented test with the potential for home/remote use, similar to existing commercial diagnostics such as pregnancy tests or in-field diagnostics such as drugs-of-abuse tests. Solutions from organizations of all types are invited, including academia, research, start-ups, small-to-medium enterprise and more.

Business Opportunity

Top technologies will be considered for both current and future development, funding, licensing and acquisition Opportunities by TechConnect Ventures' diverse cross-section of Sprint sponsors, including frontline organizations and their partners. Certain top technologies will also be featured in an upcoming COVID-19 Innovation Opportunity Report which will be promoted across all of TechConnect Ventures' corporate, agency and investment partners.

Why are we running this Sprint?

Rapid, efficient, and effective diagnosis of the COVID-19 causing agent, SARS-CoV-2, is essential to curb transmission of the disease. Since people are infectious while still asymptomatic, rapid point of care testing and delivery of diagnostic results will accelerate quarantining decision-making for health officials as well as the responsible individual, and further improve data regarding prevalence, spread, and recurrence of disease instances.

The FDA has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for in vitro diagnostics (IVD) in molecular diagnostics (224), antigen-based diagnostics (7), and serology diagnostics (60). A closer look at the existing solution sets identifies needs in easily implemented, visually-read tests (either by the individual or a third party such as a smartphone app) that can process samples that are easy to self-administer such as a nasal swab, buccal swab, or saliva. Thus, the goal of this Sprint is to accelerate new solutions to fill this technological gap.

Submission Requirements

TechConnect Ventures invites any and all responses describing novel diagnostics and diagnostic technologies to identify SARS-CoV-2 from human nasal, buccal, or saliva samples. Technologies with the ability to meet or exceed the operating parameters described below are of significant interest. Solutions which cannot yet meet the diagnostic parameters, but which can describe or demonstrate a near-term (less than 6 months) timeline to meeting these efficacy requirements are also of considerable interest.

Diagnostic Parameters

Parameter Objective Threshold
Speed Final result within 30 minutes Final result within 60 minutes
Positive Predictive Value >98% >95%
Negative Predictive Value >98% >95%

Potential Solutions

TechConnect Ventures is seeking partners from all industries and disciplines to propose solutions. Lateral flow assays with an antigen-based test are of obvious interest, but should not be viewed as the exclusive pathway to a solution. Any and all novel potential technologies that can be used to create a unique diagnostics solution are of interest for this Sprint.


All Submissions must include a completed Submission Webform (link). Submit only NON-CONFIDENTIAL information.

Within the Submission Webform your Entry should address the Problem Statement through the following:

  • A non-confidential summary of your technology or innovation, including any technical data and details on performance as it applies to the Problem Statement
  • Value proposition and (potential) commercial impact
  • Development status and readiness level
  • Development and scale-up pathway (if available)
  • Intellectual property position
  • Funding and award status (if applicable)
  • Type of partnership or commercial relationship sought with Innovation Seekers
  • Company or organizational profile
  • Contact, team and organizational information

Respondents are also invited to upload one (1) supplemental file (max. size 10MB) containing their unique technology pitch, presentation or white paper summary.


TechConnect Ventures and the members of its COVID-19 coalition will review all submissions within 4-6 weeks of the Submission Deadline. Based on the nature of the innovation and strength of the response relative to all submissions received, top innovators may be selected for further discussions, pitches or proposals which may lead to contractual or commercial engagements for the research, development or commercialization of the most promising technologies.


Contact info@techconnectventures.com and reference the Sprint Topic.

Participation Rules & Guidelines

  1. You must complete the provided Submission webform on the Sprint Submission page.
  2. You are encouraged to submit a short presentation or pitch deck. A template is available on the Submission page.

Solvers are encouraged to review the Rules and Guidelines provided on the Sprint page for details about participation, including submission criteria, eligibility information, and more.

Submissions Closed Download Challenge Brief

QUESTIONS? Contact Executive Director, Nick Kacsandi at info@techconnectventures.com