COLUMBUS (AP) - The firm chosen to lead Ohio's Opioid Technology Challenge has managed similar competitions for NASA and the Department of Homeland Security.

Cleveland-based NineSigma Inc. won the $8 million management contract Tuesday. Most of the money will go to prizes. The challenge aims to generate innovative solutions to prevention, treatment and overdose response.

It is being combined with up to $12 million in search-and-development grants seeking scientific breakthroughs for solving the U.S. opioid crisis, which has seen its highest number of overdose deaths in Ohio. More than four dozen groups have signaled their intention to apply for the grants.

Republican Gov. John Kasich called for the new investments during his April State of the State address. Ohio's Third Frontier Commission agreed to the spending in May and is pursuing an accelerated schedule.