Lyfebulb and Celgene Announce 2019 Innovation Challenge Finalists

Lyfebulb and Celgene Announce 2019 Innovation Challenge Finalists

Lyfebulb and Celgene have announced the 10 finalists who will compete for a $25,000 grant to support the development of their innovative proposals that address an unmet need in multiple sclerosis (MS). 

The Lyfebulb-Celgene 2019 “Addressing Unmet Needs in MS: An Innovation Challenge,” will take place June 12-13 at Celgene’s headquarters in Summit, New Jersey.

The main goal of the initiative is to encourage the development of solutions, beyond those offered by existing therapies, to help MS patients with their daily life challenges, or to address an unmet need that may improve their quality of life, as well as that of their carers or family members.

The Innovation Challenge welcomes applications from patient entrepreneurs — those who have been directly affected by MS, either as a patient, family member, or caregiver — whose companies are striving to come up with new ideas and projects to help the MS community.

The final 10 patient entrepreneurs of 2019 are:

  • Abilitech Medical (Shawna Persaud), with a medical device designed to help MS patients with restricted mobility use their arms;
  • AXS Map (Jason DaSilva), with an online platform that MS patients can use to search, rate, and review the accessibility of any location in the world;
  • BeCareLink (Alan Gilbert), with an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that can measure MS patients’ cognitive and motor capabilities to help improve their healthcare quality and reduce costs as much as possible;
  • C. Light Technologies (Zachary Helft), with an AI technology based on eye motion tracking that can monitor MS activity and estimate the patient’s prognosis in a non-invasive manner by measuring the activity of neurons seen through the back of the eye (retina);
  • Dance4Healing (Amy Li), with an AI live video platform that helps MS patients exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle;
  • Icometrix (Wim Van Hecke), with an AI-based brain imaging method that helps track MS progression;
  • LeoPlus (Kinza Kasher), with a device and app that allow MS patients to communicate with one another and their care partners;
  • Loro (David Hojah), with a smart assistive robot companion that helps MS patients with reduced mobility;
  • Moodify (Kate Milliken), with an online tool that allows MS patients to connect with one another, forming communities, to reduce loneliness and provide emotional support;
  • ThermApparel (Bradley Dunn), with a lightweight, comfortable cooling device that can be worn by people who experience extreme heat sensitivity.

“At Lyfebulb, we build communities of patients with chronic disease around a message of inspiration and hope for the future. Each of these patient entrepreneurs is inspirational, as they have taken their frustrations of living with their disease — or observing it in a loved one — and are working to turn those insights into business solutions to help members of the MS community live their daily lives more comfortably,” Karin Hehenberger, CEO and founder of Lyfebulb, said in a press release.

The winner will be chosen by a panel of five MS, healthcare, and business experts, following a pitch session at Celgene’s headquarters in which the finalists will present their proposals. The winner will be chosen based on selection criteria that include originality, feasibility, and real-life impact.

Besides presenting their ideas to compete for the grant, the finalists will also have a chance to discuss their ideas with Lyfebulb, Celgene, and MS community representatives, as well as key opinion leaders and business investors.

“We are excited to bring together these patient entrepreneurs, judges and members of the Celgene and Lyfebulb teams for an engaging and interactive summit,” said Terrie Curran, president of Celgene Inflammation and Immunology. “Ultimately, we hope to foster discussion about ways to advance innovation in the space and look forward to awarding this grant that will help support people with MS and their families.”

Joana is currently completing her PhD in Biomedicine and Clinical Research at Universidade de Lisboa. She also holds a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology from Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on the impact of non-canonical Wnt signaling in the collective behavior of endothelial cells — cells that make up the lining of blood vessels — found in the umbilical cord of newborns.
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Joana is currently completing her PhD in Biomedicine and Clinical Research at Universidade de Lisboa. She also holds a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology from Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on the impact of non-canonical Wnt signaling in the collective behavior of endothelial cells — cells that make up the lining of blood vessels — found in the umbilical cord of newborns.
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