Three Lakes Partners and MATTER announced a $1 million IPF Catalyst Challenge to engage innovators, entrepreneurs and researchers to find solutions for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients’ greatest need – oxygen therapy.
“IPF kills approximately the same number of people annually as breast cancer, yet it remains an unknown disease that receives very little attention,” Ken Bahk, PhD, managing director of Three Lakes Partners, said in a press release. “Our mission is on behalf of patients and caregivers: to increase visibility of this disease and to attack IPF from all sides — diagnosis, treatment, and patient quality of life — all by engaging the most innovative, aggressive, and experienced partners in our collective fight.”
The IPF Catalyst Challenge (#IPFChallenge) will focus on creating smarter solutions for patient management and improvement of quality of life in receiving oxygen therapy. In addition to oxygen, the challenge will fund and fuel disease management apps and tools, education opportunities, devices and diagnostics, as well as innovative scientific approaches to help find a cure.
The challenge was announced as part of a two-day symposium held in April at MATTER’s headquarters in Chicago, which, according to the press release, brought together some of the best and brightest minds in IPF research to look at the disease from a comprehensive perspective and to discuss innovative solutions to accelerate progress toward a cure.
The $1 million cash and incentive purse is the largest healthcare prize awarded for a challenge in the Midwest to date and the biggest in MATTER’s history. It also is the first time such a prize has been given to an organization or a cause dedicated to IPF.
“Too few people know about IPF, and far too few are developing solutions to help people suffering from this terrible disease,” said Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER.
“Solving big challenges like IPF is exactly why we created MATTER just two years ago,” added Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor. “The mission of this challenge will inspire Chicago’s thriving startup community to create solutions that will improve the lives of individuals and families who are suffering from IPF.”
Three Lakes is a venture philanthropy working to end IPF. The decision to collaborate with MATTER, a technology incubator and innovation hub, came together with that of engaging IDEO, a global design and innovation consultancy, and Common Pool, known for creating competitions to help solve challenging problems worldwide, to integrate the IPF Catalyst Challenge organizing team.