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Eli Lilly Launches IBD Digital Health Challenge


You don’t have to be a big-name researcher for your chance to win $50,000 in an innovation challenge. In fact, Eli Lilly and Company is calling for anyone at least 18 years old and in the U.S. — patients, caregivers, clinicians, advocates, students, community members and researchers — to participate in its challenge, “Transforming IBD Care: Better disease monitoring, management and care for people with inflammatory bowel disease.”

All organizations across the innovation ecosystem, including startups and legal entities, have a shot at the prize.

“From the startup perspective, challenges like this are a valuable opportunity to get in front of the right audience where it sometimes might be difficult to know potential customers interested in this area of IBD,” Sarah Sossong, principal at Flare Capital Partners, told MedTech Boston.

Even healthcare professionals can participate.

“As practitioners migrate from a ‘sick-care’ system to a true healthcare system, digital therapeutics will be one of the key tools in our armamentarium,” Michael Bass, M.D., of GI Specialists of Delaware, said in a statement to MedTech Boston. “In  the management of IBD, prevention is the key. If we know when a patient is about to flare, we can potentially prevent it. Eli Lilly/Medstro’s IBD innovation challenge is an amazing way to help bring  these ideas to the forefront and improve overall care with regards to IBD. ”

Individuals or teams of up to six people will need to submit digital health solutions to transform inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) care.

Participants can even be a part of multiple teams and can submit more than one idea.

The goal of the challenge is to focus on innovations in the monitoring, management and care enhancement of IBD.

“Lilly is investing in digital solutions that can help empower people with chronic conditions, such as IBD, to better manage their own health,” said Divakar Ramakrishnan, Ph.D., chief digital officer at Lilly.

The challenge launched last week and calls for participants to leverage technologies including mobile apps, sensors and wearable technologies, connected drug delivery devices, real-time monitoring, algorithms and digital games to enhance care and improve the health and well-being of patients with IBD.

There are three phases to the innovation challenge:

  1.     Launch and open submissions from Aug. 12 to Sept. 30.
  2.     Round one judging of submissions and selection of up to five finalists. The evaluation period will take place throughout October. The finalists of round will be announced on or before Nov. 1.
  3.     The live, in-person pitch event at Lilly’s campus in Indianapolis with judging and the selection of a winner of the $50,000 prize will take place on Nov. 21. The company will cover the cost of travel to Indianapolis for up to two members of each of the finalist teams.

Lilly could choose to work with the winner to further develop their product.

“Innovation is happening everywhere, and this challenge is aimed at identifying bold ideas outside our walls and collaborating on ways to potentially deliver new solutions to those who need them most,” Ramakrishnan said.

“The strength of this challenge is its ability to integrate patient communities with investigators in a way that promotes open communication and fierce innovation, by intercalating potentially out of the box ideas with rigorous scientific methods, and directing them toward a rapid development and commercialization,” Edward Boyer, Ph.D., M.D., director of research and academic development at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

To learn more about the challenge and to enter, interested participants can click here.

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