patientMpower among the winners of $1,000,000 IPF Catalyst Challenge in Chicago
Irish-based company awarded $333,333 in First-of-its-Kind Global Healthcare Competition
26 January – Three Lakes Partners, a venture philanthropy committed to ending Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), named Irish-based patientMpower, a provider of digital health solutions, among one of three overall winners of the $1,000,000 IPF Catalyst Challenge at an event in Chicago. The ambitious healthcare competition invited innovators from around the world to develop real, executable solutions to help change the many quality-of-life issues affecting patients living with IPF.
Based in The Digital Hub, patientMpower develops a suite of digital health solutions for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), Kidney Disease and other chronic conditions with the aim of transforming the lives of people living with chronic disease. Founded in 2014, patientMpower provides a platform for patients to better manage their condition, get access to their medical data, and communicate with their health provider.
The award-winning solution proposed by patientMpower is based around the development of a mobile platform that enables IPF patients to track their disease using integrated monitors allowing them to better manage their treatment through new insights and connections with peers and caregivers.
Eamonn Costello, CEO, patientMpower commented on the award: “Winning the IPF Catalyst Challenge is a pivotal moment for patientMpower and our mission to empower patients, those PF warriors, to live better with IPF. This funding will also be the catalyst for us to fully realize the potential of our digital biobank — data donated by all the PF warriors which is an amazing resource for IPF research. Through collaborations, we will continue to uncover new insights to map IPF human health. We would like to thank all those behind the IPF Catalyst Challenge for giving us this amazing opportunity to empower patients, to improve outcomes, and to accelerate research.”
“We created the IPF Catalyst Challenge on behalf of the countless patients around the world living with this largely ignored, heartbreaking disease. By collaborating with brilliant minds and innovative thinkers across the globe, we knew we could attack IPF from all sides and truly make progress,” said Ken Bahk PhD, managing director, Three Lakes Partners. “We couldn’t be more thankful for the inspiring ideas we saw over the course of this competition, and are honored to help bring our winners’ solutions to life. We’re excited for the promise that lies ahead.”
“This challenge brought some of the world’s best innovators to Chicago to make a difference for those suffering from IPF,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Congratulations to the winners and we look forward to seeing the difference you can collectively make in tackling this disease; and a special thanks to Three Lakes Partners and MATTER for your dedication to improving the lives of so many individuals and families across the world.”
The other two winning technology companies awarded $333,333 included Advanced Interactive Response Systems (AIRS), a US-based company dedicated to the development of oxygen safety systems for use at home, in nursing homes, hospitals, and remotely and UK-based Owlstone Medical, a company that develops a breathalyzer for the early detection of cancer, inflammatory and infectious disease. Level Ex, a Chicago based medical technology company creating professional educational video games for physicians received the Audience Choice Award and a prize fund of $50,000.
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Notes to Editor
What is IPF?
IPF is an irreversible, unpredictable, and incurable interstitial lung disease that kills about the same number of people each year as breast cancer. Without any known cause, it starts with scarring – or stiffening – of the lung tissue that prohibits the lungs from properly moving oxygen into the bloodstream, resulting in labored inhalation that is often likened to the sensation of breathing through a coffee stirrer.
The chronic illness is difficult to diagnose, and takes an average of 26 months from the first appearance of symptoms to confirm that a patient has IPF. The disease progresses differently in every patient but ultimately never improves, and is typically fatal within three to five years of diagnosis. Approximately 132,000 people in the US are living with IPF, and roughly 40,000 die from the disease annually.
In addition to suffering from an impaired quality of life, IPF patients and their families are burdened with archaic oxygen management issues that force many to remain homebound; a lack of consistent education materials; and no real comprehensive care management tools.
What is the IPF Catalyst Challenge?
First announced in April 2017, the IPF Catalyst Challenge sought to change these quality-of-life issues by seeking global innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers, and designers passionate about problem solving to develop real, executable solutions in categories that included: Early Diagnosis & Detection; Patient Education & Engagement; Oxygen Improvement; and Improving the Care Continuum.
Hundreds of registrants applied, and more than 80 final submissions came in across categories including analytics, engagement, education, monitoring and coordination. The Challenge’s nine finalists pitched their proposed solutions to a Selection Committee in front of an audience that included IPF patients; caregivers and advocates; other entrepreneurs and innovators; and members of the business and investment community.
The IPF Catalyst Challenge is one of the largest healthcare competitions in the United States, and the first time a cash and incentive purse of this magnitude has been put in place to help people with IPF. Three Lakes Partners collaborated with MATTER, the healthcare technology incubator and innovation hub; IDEO an award-winning global design and innovation consultancy; and Common Pool, renowned for creating competitions to solve the world’s most challenging problems to establish the competition.
About Three Lakes Partners
Three Lakes Partners, LLC is a venture philanthropy whose mission is to accelerate the development of promising technologies for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). Three Lakes Partners provides not only financial support, but also operational leverage via partnership with a greater network of IPF resources worldwide. Visit www.threelakespartners.org for more information.
by Eamonn Costello