Owlstone Medical Among 9 Finalists for ‘IPF Catalyst Challenge’ Prize Worth $1M


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IPF Catalyst Challenge

Owlstone Medical is among nine finalists of the IPF Catalyst Challenge to receive $1 million to fund research into idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

If it wins, the British company will use the money to promote research into identifying IPF-linked biomarkers in patients’ breath via its proprietary Breath Biopsy platform for early detection and real-time monitoring of disease activity.

The platform is a non-invasive way to access a patient’s pattern of volatile metabolites exhaled. Changes in metabolite types and quantity can signal the onset of disease before other medical means can detect it.

“Novel drugs exist that can effectively slow or even halt the progress of IPF,” Owlstone said in a press release. “However, by the time the disease’s symptoms manifest, significant and irreversible damage to the lungs has already occurred. If it were possible to diagnose IPF at an earlier stage, treatment could begin at a time before the disease affects patients’ quality of life.”

Owlstone and the eight other finalists will have the chance to pitch their ideas Jan. 24 at the Chicago headquarters of MATTER, which has organized the contest along with Three Lakes Partners, IDEO and Common Pool. A selection committee will then announce the winners; the $1 million prize will fund up to three selected projects.

The IPF Catalyst Challenge aims to engage global innovators and entrepreneurs to fund the most promising ideas for improving the lives of IPF patients and their caregivers. The prize targets four categories: early diagnosis and detection; patient education and engagement; oxygen improvement; and improving the care continuum.

Other selected finalists are:

  • Mayo Clinic Rochester (use of computer algorithms for early detection of lung fibrosis patterns in CT scans)
  • American Thoracic Society (development of new outcome quality measures to ensure IPF patients always receive the better, state-of-the-art care)
  • Cambridge Respiratory Innovations (use of a personal respiratory monitor that will warn ahead for IPF exacerbations enabling for timely medical intervention)
  • Level Ex (an educational, mobile video game for the physician community to improve the IPF care decision-making process)
  • University of Chicago’s Interstitial Lung Disease team (a web-based program for accurate, compassionate and unbiased education of IPF patients, caregivers, and physicians)
  • Advanced Interactive Response Systems (high-quality, portable oxygen safety and monitoring products to improve IPF patient’s health and caregiver performance)
  • PatientMPower (use of a mobile platform that monitors IPF symptoms and progression to help patients manage their treatment)
  • Dolby Vivisol (a new IPF liquid oxygen flask that will provide therapeutic doses of oxygen and help with daily activities)

For more information about IPF Catalyst Challenge and the Jan. 24 event, please visit this link.