NEW YORK September 20, 2022 — Lyfebulb, a patient-empowerment platform that connects patients
with industry experts to support user-driven innovation, invites entrepreneurs to apply to the
“Addressing Unmet Needs in IBD” Innovation Challenge in collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb.
The Challenge is seeking a wide range of solutions to improve lived-experience and outcomes for
individuals affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including:

  • Diagnostics, monitoring, and patient services
  • Disease education and awareness
  • System-wide improvements to care
  • Quality of life and mental health
  • Access and health equity

“Inflammatory Bowel Disease greatly impacts the everyday lives of patients and their loved ones, and
there are many unmet needs that must be addressed. Through this challenge, we encourage innovative
thinkers from all over the world to bring us new ideas and solutions to change the paradigm,” said
Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb.

Selected applicants will receive an invitation to pitch their business ventures to an expert panel of
judges composed of healthcare industry, medical, and patient leaders over the course of a two-day
summit at Bristol Myers Squibb’s headquarters in New York, N.Y. on December 8-9, 2022. A total of
$50,000 will be awarded to two finalists to further grow their companies.
In addition to the pitch competition, finalists will have the opportunity to engage with representatives
from the patient community, industry, Lyfebulb, and Bristol Myers Squibb leadership through learning
hubs and informal networking.

“Through our partnership with Lyfebulb, our goal is to empower the IBD community to bring forward
patient-driven solutions based on the everyday realities of this relentless and unpredictable disease,
with the potential to make a profound impact on living with and caring for the condition,” said Gary
Palmer, senior vice president of Immunology & Fibrosis Worldwide Medical, Bristol Myers Squibb.
The competition is free to enter and open to U.S. and international applicants. Official eligibility criteria
and terms and conditions can be found on

About Lyfebulb
Lyfebulb is an innovation accelerator that bridges the gap between patient communities and the
healthcare industry by working directly with patients and care partners to generate insights and build
new solutions to reduce the burden of living with chronic disease. The company operates two digital
patient communities, TransplantLyfe and IBDLyfe.

For more information:
Lyfebulb Contact:
Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD
CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb
Phone: + 1 917-575-0210


September 20, 2022
Applications Open
October 25, 2022
Submission Deadline
November 8, 2022
Finalist Announcement
December 8-9, 2022
Innovation Challenge
December 9, 2022
Winner Announcement


The goal of the 2022 Global Innovation Challenge: Addressing Unmet needs in IBD is to identify a wide range of innovative ideas and scalable solutions for better disease management and care. Unmet needs continue to afflict the everyday lives of IBD patients and their loved ones; we are seeking to change that, ultimately to improve outcomes and experiences for people affected by the disease.

The challenge is currently accepting applications through October 25, 2022. Selected applicants will be shortlisted as finalists and will receive an invitation to pitch their ideas and business solutions over the course of a two-day summit at Bristol Myers Squibb’s headquarters in New York City. An expert panel of judges comprised of healthcare industry, medical, and patient leaders will assess the innovators. Prizes will be awarded to two finalists to further grow their companies. The Innovation Award will be presented to a for-profit company and includes $25,000. The Impact Award will be presented to a not-for-profit company and includes $25,000.

In addition to the pitch competition, finalists will have the opportunity to engage with representatives from the patient community, industry, Lyfebulb, and Bristol Myers Squibb through workshops and learning hubs.

Key Pillars of Innovation

Diagnostics, monitoring, and patient services
Disease education and awareness
Quality of life and mental health
Access and health equity
System-wide improvements to care

Target of Innovation

Patients, care partners, or industry professionals
Any stage of the patient journey

Criteria to Apply

Devices, technologies, products, and services
All stages of development welcomed
All countries welcomed
Individuals with registered companies
Drugs/therapeutics may not apply
Licensed/practicing HCPs may not apply



Strategic basis for addressing unmet needs
Demonstrated ability of the innovation to address these challenges


Potential of the innovation to improve outcomes or lived-experience
Degree of market impact and patient impact
Measurability of impact


Uniqueness to the market
Feasibility of development and implementation
Market sustainability




The challenge will take place December 8-9, 2022



Ten finalists will present their solutions



Two entrepreneurs will be awarded $25,000 each


The Lyfebulb Innovation Challenge, in collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb, stems from the concept of the Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle established in 2015, which features individuals who have created a product and/or a company in response to their personal experiences with a chronic illness (through their own diagnosis or that of a loved one).

Lauren Erbach Barnfield is a Crohn’s patient, nonprofit professional and patient advocate. She is passionate about providing quality education programming for patients and caregivers and advocating for policy change and healthcare reform. When she’s not doing those things, she’s curled up with a good book, enjoying the outdoors, or listening to Hanson’s “String Theory” on repeat.

Lauren and her husband, two children, and too many pets reside in Norridge, Illinois.

Formerly a news anchor and reporter, Natalie Hayden was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in July 2005, two months after graduating with a journalism degree. She didn’t allow her disease to rob her of all she had worked towards, so she began her career three months after diagnosis. When Natalie left the news desk in 2014, she decided it was time to share her patient journey publicly in order to be the voice she desperately needed to hear upon diagnosis. Through her award-winning blog, Lights, Camera, Crohn’s, she shares stories and experiences every Monday about everything from overcoming struggles to celebrating small victories. As an IBD mom of three, she’s passionate about helping women with IBD navigate everything from the family planning process, to pregnancy, and motherhood. 

Along with her blog, Natalie is on the Advisory Board for IBD Moms, a member of Janssen’s Patient Engagement Research Council, and an active participant of IBD Social Circle. She’s a writer and contributor for many digital healthcare sites and enjoys being a volunteer and spokesperson for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and the American Gastroenterological Association.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

NEW YORK — Lyfebulb, an online digital platform and community that empowers people living with chronic illnesses to thrive through education, innovation and connectivity, today announced the launch of IBDLyfe ( IBDLyfe is an online community for those living with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as their support partners, to share experiences, find one-on-one mentorships and help individuals feel supported as they embrace struggles unique to their journey, regardless of their physical location.

“There are approximately 2.5 million individuals living with IBD in the US today, the majority of whom are burdened with anxiety and fear about living with this diagnosis for the rest of their lives,” said Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Lyfebulb. “IBDLyfe, built by patients and care partners for patients and care partners, can help reduce some of this anxiety by providing a safe, moderated platform to learn from others (including experts) who have walked this path before.”

IBDLyfe was developed as part of an open and honest dialogue with the IBD community to identify and help fulfil the needs of patients and their care partners throughout their journey.

“Being diagnosed with colitis was one of the most isolating experiences of my life. I didn’t know anyone in the world who had it, and I felt like I couldn’t talk about it because it was too embarrassing. The combination of a serious disease and having no one to turn to was very difficult for me,” revealed Jackie Zimmerman, Community Manager for IBDLyfe. “It wasn’t until I met other IBD patients online that I began to shift how I viewed my life with ulcerative colitis. Having a community to normalize your experiences, validate your concerns, and support you with knowledge only other patients could have is invaluable.”

In addition to peer-to-peer connectivity, IBDLyfe showcases forums where one can see both questions and answers on the minds of the community, motivational stories, validated resources, and a tool to track metrics of one’s own health.

“If a platform like IBDLyfe had existed, I believe some of my family’s circumstances would have come out differently …. I wanted to know what others in my parenting situation were doing or had done. I wanted to talk with those who understood what I was experiencing and feeling without being pitied,” concluded Wendy Lyman, Content Manager for IBDLyfe, whose son has ulcerative colitis.

For more information on IBDLyfe or to register, please visit

About Lyfebulb

Lyfebulb is a chronic disease-focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients and industry to support user-driven innovation. Grounded with its strong foundation in diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, mental health, substance use disorder, migraine, transplantation, psoriasis, chronic cough, chronic kidney disease, and heart failure.

See Lyfebulb.comFacebookTwitterInstagramKarin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.


Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD
CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb
Phone: 917-575-0210

After back-to-back chronic illness diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease in her 20s, Jackie Zimmerman turned to the internet to find a way to cope and build a support system. Blogging became the outlet she found and she quickly realized that she wasn’t the only one benefiting from her stories. Jackie became a professional blogger and public speaker and in 2012 formed a nonprofit called Girls With Guts to uplift women living with Inflammatory Bowel disease. 

Through the process of blogging and developing communities, Jackie honed her skills in digital communications by learning to design websites, create brand recognition and build online courses. She has now turned those into a full time career in her company Queen of GSD. Though she holds degrees in graphic design and information science, Jackie really built her digital marketing skills through the desire to tell her story and she is most passionate about helping others in the chronic illness community learn to share their own stories.

I live happily in southern California with my husband where I enjoy eating lots of sushi, going on hikes and long drives and exercising daily. Previously, I was in Dallas for 10 years where I went to Southern Methodist University for both my undergraduate and graduate programs. My family is originally from Honduras, Central America, where I was born and raised. Currently, I’m a social media strategist trying to help brands make an impact in the digital space. 

Wendy has been the daughter, the wife, and the mother of loved ones managing life with IBD in addition to mental health issues, substance use disorders, and autism spectrum disorder. It is through her caregiver experiences that she has become an unhailed expert in her own little chronic disease community. Having spent her career as a college educator teaching English as a Second Language (domestically and overseas), Wendy has also written several novels, translating them herself into Spanish. She also writes blog posts for Different Brains, an organization that advocates for inclusion, acceptance, and awareness of neurodiversity. Her newest life role is that of Navy mom, offering yet more opportunity to practice living the term Semper Gumby (always flexible). Wendy has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast production from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in education and second language instruction from Florida International University. She has now joined the Lyfebulb team to incorporate her passion for writing, learning, teaching, and connecting with others to focus on her role as IBD Community Manager

Atray Dixit, PhD of Coral Genomics has been selected to receive the $25,000 Innovation Award

NEW YORK, NY, USA September 10, 2021 – Lyfebulb, a patient-empowerment platform, and Arena Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on developing innovative therapeutics for immune-mediated conditions, are excited to announce that Atray Dixit, PhD, Co-founder and CEO of Coral Genomics, was selected as the winner of the 2021 Lyfebulb and Arena Pharmaceuticals: Imagining Life Without Limits – An Inflammatory Bowel Disease Innovation Challenge.

Coral Genomics will receive the $25,000 monetary award to further develop its mission of bringing precision medicine to IBD and increasing its applicability in a diverse population. Additionally, Asaf Kraus of Dieta Health was given an honorable mention for pioneering its objective measurement of previously subjective measures of IBD health in its companion app.

“The level of innovation presented by each finalist was impressive and inspiring, and we look forward to seeing their ventures grow and make an impact on the inflammatory bowel disease community,” said Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD, Founder and CEO of Lyfebulb. “There is a significant unmet need within this community for solutions that improve the experience of receiving an accurate diagnosis, effective individualized care, and adequate patient education, and we applaud this group of entrepreneurs for their efforts to ease the burden of living with chronic disease.”

The 2021 Innovation Challenge took place virtually over the past two days and was open to entrepreneurs motivated by a personal connection to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) developing new products and solutions that help patients, care partners, and all those affected by IBD to better manage their health, navigate everyday challenges, and improve overall quality of life.

Ten finalists were selected to compete at the Challenge and pitch their companies’ solutions to a panel of independent judges from a range of industries, including experts in the fields of business, healthcare, and patient advocacy. Finalists’ solutions ranged from biotechnology platforms and diagnostics to virtual clinics, wearables, and other products for consumers and healthcare professionals, and were chosen based on their potential to address the unmet needs of the IBD community and how their relationship to IBD inspired the launch of their ventures.

“Arena is proud to participate in the Challenge and support these entrepreneurs who understand the needs of the IBD community,” said Paul Streck, MD, Senior Vice President, Clinical Development, and Chief Medical Officer for Arena Pharmaceuticals. “The finalists showed the bold and innovative thinking needed to create impactful solutions for the millions of patients living with IBD.”   

To continue their commitment to patient entrepreneurship and raising awareness about inflammatory bowel disease, Lyfebulb and Arena Pharmaceuticals will be hosting a Fireside Chat with Atray and two members of the jury on Tuesday, September 14 at 4:00pm EDT. This virtual discussion is open to all members of the community, and more information may be found on

About the Lyfebulb and Arena Partnership

Rooted in the collaborative spirit of the Lyfebulb and Arena partnership and a shared commitment to continuous innovation in patient care, the 2021 Innovation Challenge endeavours to strengthen and engage the IBD community, support the sharing of experiences and insights, identify promising and impactful solutions, and ultimately change lives. The Innovation Challenge is one component of a larger sponsorship between Lyfebulb and Arena to partner directly with IBD patients, support partners and community leaders to accomplish these goals.

About Lyfebulb

Lyfebulb is an innovation accelerator that bridges the gap between patient communities and the healthcare industry by working directly with patients and care partners to generate insights and build new solutions to reduce the burden of living with chronic disease. Lyfebulb operates across 11 disease states and counting. For more information, see, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn.

About Arena Pharmaceuticals

ARENA Pharmaceuticals is a team with a singular purpose – deliver important medicines to patients. In a rapidly changing treatment landscape, we work with a sense of urgency every day to identify the needs of the GI community and identify bold, sometimes disruptive, ideas to get medicines to patients. It’s our determination to help improve the lives of millions of people suffering from GI disorders that inspires us all to relentlessly execute, until it’s done. ARENA – Care More. Act Differently.

For more information:

Lyfebulb Contact:

Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD

CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb

Phone: + 1 917-575-0210


Arena Contact:

Patrick Malloy

Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications

Phone: +1 847-987-4878