The healthcare competition will award a total of $1 million for the development of up to three “big ideas” to improve the quality of life for IPF patients and caregivers. Three Lakes says this is the first time a cash and incentive purse this large has been dedicated to helping people with IPF.
“IPF kills about the same number of people each year 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.
“We’ve taken a stand and created the IPF Catalyst Challenge so brilliant minds everywhere can come together to help improve the lives of IPF patients and their caregivers, and help eradicate this disease that has claimed countless lives.”
An irreversible, unpredictable, and incurable interstitial lung disease of unknown cause, IPF starts with scarring or stiffening of lung tissue that prevents the lungs from properly moving oxygen into the bloodstream, making it difficult to breathe. IPF progresses differently in every patient, and is typically fatal within three to five years of diagnosis.
An estimated 120,000 to 132,000 people in the U.S. are living with IPF, with about 30,000 to 40,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Roughly 40,000 die from the disease annually.
Three Lakes Partners is dedicated to funding the development of innovative diagnostics and devices that can improve the diagnosis of IPF and the creation of new, smarter solutions for the management of IPF patients’ biggest needs and their greatest frustration — archaic oxygen management that forces many to remain homebound.
The IPF Catalyst Challenge is seeking global innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers, and designers who are passionate about problem-solving to develop cutting-edge patient and caregiver management apps, devices, and tools. The Challenge also seeks patient education opportunities and novel ideas from science to ultimately help find a cure for IPF.
The categories included in the Challenge are: early diagnosis and detection; patient education and engagement; oxygen improvement; and improving the care continuum.
The competition allows for submissions that may not fall into those four categories, but that may represent executable solutions that applicants believe could positively impact the quality of life for patients and caregivers.
“We know we can create solutions for those suffering from IPF by engaging the world’s best and brightest minds, and encourage anyone who thinks they can make a difference to join us in the fight against this terrible disease,” Bahk said.
Joining Three Lakes Partners to organize the IPF Catalyst Challenge are healthcare technology incubator and innovation hub MATTER; global design and innovation consultancy IDEO, a pioneer in human- centered design and an approach to innovation called “design thinking”; and Common Pool, a consulting firm focused exclusively on the development, and management of challenge competitions and other incentive-based programs.
The IPF Catalyst Challenge is open to both nonprofit agencies and for-profit ventures. Registration is open at the Challenge’s website until 5 p.m. Oct. 25 Central Time, and participant’s applications are due no later than 5 p.m. Nov. 8, 2017, Central Time.
Finalists will be announced in early December and will have the opportunity to pitch their solutions to a Selection Committee during a live event in January 2018. An official set of the competition rules can be found here.
To learn more about the $1 million IPF Catalyst Challenge and to register for the competition, visit https://challenge.ipfcatalyst.com and follow @IPFCatalyst on Twitter, or #IPFChallenge and IPF Catalyst on Facebook.
For more information, visit http://www.threelakespartners.org.