The Catalyst Challenge aims to engage worldwide entrepreneurs and innovators in tech, healthcare and scientific research to come up with new ways to improve the quality of life for IPF patients and caregivers.
According to a company news release, if Owlstone wins the prize, the funding will be used to advance its Breath Biopsy platform, a tool designed to analyze exhaled breath and search for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) related to IPF.
By identifying VOC biomarkers linked to the disease, the Breath Biopsy platform might provide earlier diagnoses of IPF, enabling timely treatment and preventing debilitating loss of lung function.
Even though treatments like Esbriet (pirfenidone), developed by Genentech, have been shown to slow or stop disease progression, by the time patients start showing symptoms, significant and irreversible damage to the lungs has already taken place. Owlstone researchers sought to fill this gap by finding a tool that can lead to an IPF diagnosis earlier. That way, treatment can begin before the disease starts taking its toll on patients’ quality of life.
Additionally, unlike current primary diagnostic methods, such as high-definition computer tomography (HDCT) scans, Breath Biopsy is designed to not carry any risks associated with X-ray exposure and to be a non-invasive and inexpensive tool for detecting IPF at an early stage.
Owlstone published a free e-book with more information about Breath Biopsy called “Breath Biopsy: The Complete Guide.”
Winners of the $1 million prize will be announced on Jan. 24, 2018. The finalists besides Owlstone are:
- Advanced Interactive Response Systems – developing oxygen products for IPF
- American Thoracic Society – creating evidence-based quality measures to improve IPF treatment
- Cambridge Respiratory Innovations – working to predict IPF exacerbations before they happen
- Dolby Vivisol – improving IPF patients’ lives through a more effective and efficient LOX system
- Level Ex – increasing IPF survival by training doctors to successfully detect and treat the disease
- Mayo Clinic Rochester – using machine learning expertise to detect early lung fibrosis
- PatientMpower – empowering IPF patients to better manage their treatment
- University of Chicago Interstitial Lung Disease Team – creating accurate, compassionate and unbiased IPF education.
For more information about the event on Jan. 24 and how to participate, please visit this link.