2021 Innovation Challenge Finalists Announced

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by Aisha I Abdullah PhD |

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2021 Innovation Challenge Finalists

Lyfebulb and Bristol Myers Squibb have announced the 10 finalists who will compete virtually for a $25,000 award to support the development of innovations that address unmet needs in multiple sclerosis (MS).

The Lyfebulb-Bristol Myers Squibb 2021 “Addressing Unmet Needs in MS: An Innovation Challenge” will take place March 10–11 and will be virtual for the first time in the competition’s history.

“MS is an ever-changing disease, and Bristol Myers Squibb is grateful to be partnering with Lyfebulb in supporting the entrepreneurs and creators who are looking for inventive new ways to better the lives of those who are living with this unpredictable disease,” Tina Deignan, said in a press release. Deignan is vice president and U.S. business unit head for immunology at Bristol Myers Squibb.

The competition seeks to promote the development of innovative, non-therapeutic solutions to improve the health and lives of MS patients and their families while also raising awareness about MS. Every finalist is a patient entrepreneur — an individual who either lives with MS or has a loved one with the disease — with a company that works to advance patient-centric solutions for the MS community.

The 10 MS Innovation Challenge finalists for 2021 are:

  • Angie Conley, founder and CEO of Abilitech Medical
  • Jason DaSilva, founder and president of AXS Lab
  • Luanne Dibernardo, founder and CEO of Oro Sports
  • Peter Grande, co-founder of MUVE
  • David Hojah – CEO of Parrots
  • Lucy Jones, founder and CEO of FFORA
  • David Lyons, founder and director of MS Fitness Challenge
  • Pierluigi Mantovani, CEO of Evolution Devices
  • Tish Scolnik, co-founder and CEO of GRIT
  • Brooke Slick, founder and product developer of Dashco

“Each of these finalists is an attestation to the power of patient entrepreneurship as they have taken their hardships of living with the disease — or observing it in a loved one — and have turned those insights into business solutions to help other members of the MS community,” said Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD, CEO and founder of Lyfebulb.

At the virtual challenge, the finalists will pitch their innovative solutions to a panel of expert judges, including:

  • Tim Coetzee, PhD, chief advocacy, services, and research officer at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society 
  • Kate Cronin, global CEO of Ogilvy Health 
  • Teresa Wright-Johnson, MS patient ambassador at Lyfebulb, inspirational speaker and columnist at Multiple Sclerosis News Today 
  • Darin T. Okuda, MD, director of the Neuroinnovation Program and the Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Imaging Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
  • Stephen Squinto, PhD, executive partner at OrbiMed and co-founder of Alexion

“We are excited to bring together these inspirational leaders with our expert panel of judges and members of the Lyfebulb and Bristol Myers Squibb teams for an engaging and interactive two-day summit,” Hehenberger said.

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