Winners of 2020 Innovation Challenge for PF Announced

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by Diana Campelo Delgado |

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The nonprofit Three Lakes Foundation and the healthcare incubator MATTER announced the four winners of the 2020 Innovation Challenge, an initiative that promotes advancements in the way pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is diagnosed, treated, and managed.

Winners of the challenge will receive a monetary award to bring their solutions closer to reality.

“People living with pulmonary fibrosis today — and those who will be diagnosed in the years ahead — need new technologies that can speed up diagnosis and improve their lives,” Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER, said in a press release.

“Three Lakes Foundation is committed to increasing awareness of PF and developing innovative approaches to accelerating much needed solutions to improve patient quality of life and survival,” said Dana Ball, executive director of Three Lakes Foundation.

OxyGEN, a medtech venture of Johns Hopkins University working to create more efficient portable oxygen therapies, received the first-place award in the challenge.

OxyGEN developed novel portable oxygen concentrators with automatic adjustment that combine high-flow ambient air and pulses of concentrated oxygen based on patients’ blood oxygen levels. By providing more effective treatment, reducing oxygen waste, and increasing its longevity, the new oxygen concentrators aim to improve patients’ quality of life and enable them to live a more active lifestyle.

The second-place award was given to Sydney Montesi, MD, a clinician-researcher in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Montesi developed a solution to detect changes in the lungs before significant damage occurs, using positron emission tomography (PET) — a non-invasive imaging technique that uses radioactive molecules, or probes, to image tissues and organs, allowing researchers and clinicians to observe metabolic processes occurring inside the body.

The third-place award was given to RecoverX, an artificial intelligence startup company helping clinicians avoid misdiagnosis by bringing evidence-based diagnostic insights automatically to the clinician workflow through their diagnostics platform and user interface.

Adair Health won People’s Choice award for its portable hand-held device capable of measuring more than 10 vital signs, including body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, in just 30 seconds.

“I’m delighted we could find these winning companies and look forward to helping them bring their innovations to reality for the patients who need them most,” Collens said.

The challenge received a total of 49 submissions. From these, 12 innovators from Israel, Australia, India, Turkey and parts of the U.S. were selected to participate as finalists in a “Shark Tank”-style pitch presentation.

Both organizers are actively involved in healthcare and PF care. The Three Lakes Foundation is a nonprofit that aims to unify researchers, industries, and other nonprofit organizations to improve PF diagnosis and treatment. The nonprofit intends to maintain its newly formed relationships with the challenge winners to monitor progress and impact.

Matter is an incubator that has assisted more than 200 healthcare startups worldwide, actively collaborating with hospitals, healthcare systems, universities, and industry leaders.

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) also participated by providing guidance during the challenge.

“We’re proud to participate in the 2020 PF Innovation Challenge,” said William Schmidt, president and CEO at PFF. “It’s impressive to see the passion and dedication these finalists brought to the Challenge. Together, there is no goal unreachable, and someday, a cure for PF will become a reality.”

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