A $25,000 contest is inviting entrepreneurs who have multiple sclerosis (MS), or take care of someone with MS, to pitch their non-therapeutic solutions for people with the neurodegenerative disorder.
The virtual Innovation Challenge, which takes place in March 2021, is part of a collaboration between patient-powered platform Lyfebulb and biopharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb. Applications are accepted through Dec. 9.
Leading up to the grant competition, the partnership is also offering a series of virtual speaker sessions in which MS community members may participate in panel discussions aimed at raising awareness of MS and fomenting community change.
“We are thrilled to support this patient-driven innovation in MS in partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb,” Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD, Lyfebulb CEO and founder, said in a press release.
“While great strides have been made, the burden of MS continue to take a toll on the nearly one million people living with the disease in the U.S., and their support partners,” added Hehenberger. “By placing patients at the forefront and spotlighting their voice and solutions, we hope to inspire all members of the community to take charge and create positive change.”
The Innovation Challenge is open to entrepreneurial patients or support partners who have been directly affected by multiple sclerosis, and whose U.S.-based companies are working to address everyday challenges in MS. The goal of the contest is to find solutions beyond therapy that could potentially improve outcomes and quality of life.
Selected finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges comprising patients and members of the healthcare industry. They will also be able to exchange ideas about future projects, and engage with Bristol Myers Squibb and Lyfebulb leadership, patients, opinion leaders, and potential investors.
Finalists will be announced Jan. 11, 2021, and the Innovation Challenge will take place March 10–11. The business deemed the most impactful and innovative will be announced March 12.
“The unpredictable and changing nature of MS symptoms leads to challenges for those living with the disease, and we’re proud to be working with Lyfebulb to bring entrepreneurial members of the community together to identify meaningful, patient-driven solutions,” said Tina Deignan, vice president and U.S. business unit head of immunology at Bristol Myers Squibb.
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