Lyfebulb and Bristol Myers Squibb Announce the Winner of the 2021 Innovation Challenge in Multiple Sclerosis
Evolution Devices has been awarded the $25,000 Innovation Award for its smart stimulation therapy to improve the mobility of multiple sclerosis patients
NEW YORK, March 11, 2021 – Bristol Myers Squibb, the biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and delivers innovative medicines to help patients prevail over serious diseases, and Lyfebulb, a patient-empowerment platform that connects patients with industry to support user-driven innovation, are excited to announce that Pierluigi Mantovani of Evolution Devices was chosen as the winner of the “Addressing Unmet Needs in MS: An Innovation Challenge”.
Evolution Devices will receive $25,000 from Lyfebulb to further develop its innovative, functional electrical stimulation device that couples artificial intelligence and proprietary software to rehabilitate foot drop in multiple sclerosis patients. Pierluigi was motivated to start his company out of his personal observations of seeing his own father struggle with foot drop living with MS.
Additionally, FFORA and GRIT each received honorable mentions for their impactful innovations that have the potential to greatly increase the quality of life for individuals living with MS. FFORA, founded by Lucy Jones, offers a suite of lifestyle branded, wheelchair-attachable products specifically made for the disability community. GRIT, co-founded by Tish Scolnik, offers adaptive, all-terrain wheelchairs allowing people with physical limitations the freedom to engage in outdoor activities.
“At Bristol Myers Squibb, patients are at the heart of everything we do. The caliber of entries and the ingenuity they represent exemplifies the importance of sourcing solutions from those with the most intimate knowledge of Multiple Sclerosis – people with this disease and their loved ones,” said Tina Deignan, Senior Vice President and U.S. Business Unit Head of Immunology at Bristol Myers Squibb. “This partnership with Lyfebulb represents one of many with the MS community and we are truly appreciative of all the time donated from those who submitted entries and the esteemed panel of judges.”
The 2021 MS Innovation Challenge took place virtually over two days on March 10-11, 2021, and was open to entrepreneurs motivated by a personal connection to the disease developing products and solutions for the MS community. Ten finalists were selected to pitch their company’s solution to a panel of independent judges from across industries, including MS experts, healthcare, and the business world. Selected solutions from finalists spanned mobility assistance and wearable devices, transportation accessibility services, exercise and strength training programs, functional accessories, and social enterprises fostering inclusion.
To continue partnership efforts to collectively raise awareness of MS and spotlight innovation, Bristol Myers Squibb and Lyfebulb will be hosting a virtual speaker session with Pierluigi, Lucy and Tish and select judges on March 16, 2021. The speaker session is open to all members of the community, and more information may be found on Lyfebulb.com.
“The degree of impact of the solutions presented by applicants at this year’s challenge was extremely high and we would like to congratulate all those working to improve the lives of those affected by MS,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, Founder and CEO of Lyfebulb. “We thank the judges for making this difficult decision in selecting the winner, and hope all entrepreneurs are inspired by the collaborative sessions in this Innovation Challenge to continue on their quest to bring forth solutions to ease the burden of living with chronic disease.”
About Bristol Myers Squibb
Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.
Lyfebulb is a chronic disease-focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients and industry to support user-driven innovation. 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 and chronic kidney disease. See Lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable and often disabling disease that affects nearly one million people in the United States.[i] MS is a disease in which the immune system attacks the protective myelin sheath that covers the nerves. The myelin damage disrupts communication between the brain and the rest of the body.[ii] Ultimately, the nerves themselves may deteriorate — a process that’s currently irreversible.[iii]
For more information:
Bristol Myers Squibb Contact:
Director, Corporate Affairs, U.S. Immunology Communications, Bristol Myers Squibb
Phone: +1 908-938-4343
Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD
CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb
Phone: + 1 917-575-0210
[i] National Multiple Sclerosis Society. MS Symptoms. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms. Accessed September 24, 2020.
[ii] National Multiple Sclerosis Society. What is Myelin? www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Definition-of-MS/Myelin. Accessed July 07, 2020.
[iii] AJMC. The Pathologic Foundations of Multiple Sclerosis: Current Considerations. https://www.ajmc.com/view/the-pathologic-foundations-of-multiple-sclerosis-current-considerations. Accessed September 24, 2020.