Addressing Unmet Needs in MS: An Innovation Challenge

Virtual Summit
March 10-11, 2021


November 2, 2020
Applications Open
December 9, 2020
Submission Deadline
February 9, 2021
Finalist Announcement
March 10-11, 2021
Innovation Challenge
March 11, 2021
Winner Announcement


Pierluigi Mantovani is the co-founder and CEO of Evolution Devices, where they are helping people with Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological diseases rehabilitate their walking with a remote physical therapy program enabled by a smart nerve stimulation wearable device. Specifically, Evolution Devices is helping people with foot drop pick up their foot to trip and fall less, and walk with more confidence. Pierluigi is a healthcare entrepreneur and former Neuroscience researcher at UCSF. Pierluigi received his BA in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley. He was inspired to build Evolution Devices initially to help his father, who struggles with Multiple Sclerosis. Pierluigi and The Evolution Devices team has been featured in multiple media outlets, and has been recognized by the NIH, NSF, and the Toyota Mobility Foundation for their innovations.

Pierluigi Mantovani
Co-Founder & CEO

Honorable Mention

Lucy Jones is the founder and CEO of FFORA, a fashion lifestyle brand that primarily caters to people with disabilities. She believes in a world made accessible to all. Previously, she worked at Eileen Fisher as a “Social Innovator” sponsored by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Welsh native Jones studied Fashion Design at Parsons School of Fashion in New York. As a student, Jones received several accolades including the prestigious Royal Society of the Arts prize for “Design Innovation”. Upon graduation in 2015, Jones was awarded Parsons Womenswear Designer of the Year, Kering “Empowering Imagination” Award, and shortly after named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the “Arts & Style” category. In 2016 Jones was invited to The White House to attend a “Design for All” conference. In addition, she has been recognized by the CFDA, winning the inaugural grand prize of the Elaine Gold Launch Pad in 2018, and also exhibited work in the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and currently has work on display at the “Design for Different Futures Exhibit”, a two-year exhibition. Jones’ work has been featured in numerous publications such as The New York Times,, Business of Fashion, BBC, CFDA, NPR, Forbes, Fast Company, Seventeen Magazine, WWD, Id Vice, Independence Care Systems, AOL online, ITV Wales, Vogue, The Impression, Plan de Ville, Fashionista amongst others. Most recently, Jones starred in a global Microsoft campaign, highlighting the work and community of FFORA.

Lucy Jones
Founder and CEO

Honorable Mention

Tish is the co-founder and CEO of GRIT, a social enterprise that believes every person, regardless of their physical ability, deserves access to the outdoors and adventure. Tish graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an SB in Mechanical Engineering, and she uses her design skills to create products that enable people with disabilities to enjoy life beyond the pavement. She is a designer of the Freedom Chair, GRIT’s flagship line of all-terrain wheelchairs. 

Over the past decade Tish has collaborated with programs around the country to expand access to adaptive hiking, including adaptive sports programs, parks, Veterans organizations, community groups, and other like-minded partners. She has spoken at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and TEDx Boston, among others. Tish is a 2009 Truman Scholar for her dedication to public service. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, including hiking and camping.   

Tish Scolnik
Co-Founder and CEO


The Innovation Challenge is open to Patient Entrepreneurs – those who have been affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) as either a patient themselves or as a support partner for a loved one – whose companies are helping develop solutions to address an unmet need in MS. The goal of the initiative is to seek new solutions, beyond therapy, to help address either challenges faced by people with MS in their daily lives or an unmet need that could potentially improve outcomes and experiences for people affected by the disease.

In March 2021, Lyfebulb will host the Summit virtually. An expert panel of judges comprised of healthcare industry, medical and patient leaders will award $25,000 to the most innovative, impactful business.

Beyond presenting their innovative ventures to this group for a monetary prize, the finalists will have the opportunity to exchange ideas on how to further advance patient innovation in the MS community; engage with Lyfebulb founders, representatives from the patient community, key opinion leaders and potential investors; and share insights with each other.

The Lyfebulb Innovation Challenge stems from the idea of the Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle, established in 2015, and features individuals who have created a product and a company based on the issues encountered due to their personal experiences with a chronic illness (through their own diagnosis or that of a loved one).




Tim Coetzee, PhD

Chief Advocacy, Services and Research Officer at National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Stephen Squinto, PhD

Executive Partner at OrbiMed, Co-Founder at Alexion, and Co-Founder & Chairman at Lyfebulb

Teresa Wright Johnson

MS Patient Ambassador at Lyfebulb and Inspirational Speaker

Darin T. Okuda, MD, MS, FAAN, FANA

Director of the Neuroinnovation Program and Director of the Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Imaging Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center

Kate Cronin

Global CEO of Ogilvy Health


Submissions should focus on new solutions, beyond therapy, that help address either challenges faced by people with MS in their daily lives or an unmet need that could potentially improve outcomes and experiences for both people with the disease and their support partners.

The judging panel will assess the following:

Unmet Need

  • What is the strategic basis for the identified problem/gap (e.g., research conducted)?
  • How is the problem/gap being specifically addressed®?


  • Does the innovation have the potential to improve the lives of people affected by multiple sclerosis?
  • How great of an impact (market impact and patient impact) will the innovation make and how will it be measured?

Market Feasibility

  • How is the product or service unique to the market?
  • What is the feasibility of development and implementation into the marketplace (e.g., funding, regulations, requirements for testing)?