Hypios CI


Reduce the Environmental Footprint of Molecular Biology Kits​


The main goal of this Challenge is to reduce the environmental impact of nucleic acid extraction.

The established extraction methods generate large amounts of plastic waste. Additionally, hazardous chemicals are used for most nucleic acid extraction workflows.

The Product is a cardboard box containing all components and a protocol required to extract nucleic acid from diverse sample materials.

Each box contains several plastic bottles (4 or more bottles with volumes of 1 – 500 ml; Polypropylene or Polyethylene) containing buffers and reagents which are used during the extraction process.

The box contains one or more plastic bags (Polyethylene) with 4 or more reagent vessels (1.5 – 2 ml tubes) per sample; some parts might be packed individually into plastic blisters for single use.

Current extraction methods produce too much waste (non-biodegradable):

  • Use of multiple plastic consumables (e.g. plastic spin columns, collection tubes, plastic tips) per extraction
  • Packaging concept: plastic bottles as well as plastic bags used
  • Hazardous chemistry used for lysis, depletion of contaminants, binding and washing of nucleic acids.

Desired Orientation

The Seeker is looking for a product with minimal waste stream / environmental footprint.

What kind of solution are we looking for?

  • Packaging concept and/or nucleic acid extractions process modifications to reduce waste
  • Alternative packaging solutions which are compatible with molecular biology applications
  • Alternative sample lysis and/ or nucleic acid extraction technologies without hazardous reagents

What kind of deliverable is expected?

  • Minimum: Present a theoretical concept / innovative idea how to achieve the challenge described above
  • Preferred: Show feasibility data, proving the concept works
  • Ideally: Show benchmarking data

Existing Solution

What kind of solutions have been found/tested?

  1. Simplified workflows just by reducing process steps;
  2. Integrated workflows with dedicated downstream analysis
  3. Direct detection in crude lysates
  4. Use buffer concentrates/dried reagents to reduce weight

Why they did not satisfy us?

  1. Not meeting generic high-quality requirement for isolated nucleic acid; NA must be compatible with all main molecular biology applications.
  2. No generic extraction system
  3. See i. and ii.
  4. Buffer dilution by customer causes an additional user intervention and potential buffer contamination by poor water quality, which cannot be excluded.

Selection Criteria

The minimum criteria the solution should fulfil to be selected are:

One or more of the following reductions on environmental impact should be met


  1. Less plastics
  2. Switch to biodegradable plastics or other alternatives


  1. Removal of hazardous chemicals


  1. Product weight and size reduction
  2. Product packaging concept to avoid waste


Base Reward (referring to selection criteria a. – e.):

  • 1 criterion met: 4.000 €
  • 2 criteria met: 6.000 €
  • 3 criteria met: 8.000 €
  • 4 criteria met: 10.000 €
  • 5 criteria met: 12.000 €

Reward multiplier factor:

  • For theoretical idea without feasibility data:

         Base reward x 1 (e.g. minimum 4.000€ – maximum 12.000€)

  • For ideas with feasibility data:

         Base reward x 2 (e.g. minimum 8.000€ – maximum 24.000€)

  • For ideas with feasibility data and benchmarking data with commonly used DNA/RNA isolation methods:

        Base reward x 3 (e.g. minimum 12.000€ – maximum 36.000€)

  • For ideas with feasibility data, benchmarking data and submitted/granted intellectual properties:

        Reward to be negotiated individually