Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group Announce Winners of the 2018 Innovation Challenge for Patient Entrepreneurs
Winners to receive monetary prizes for creative and robust patient-driven business solutions to address inflammatory bowel disease
MINNETONKA, Minn., and NEW YORK (July 26, 2018) Lyfebulb LLC and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) have selected Jon Margalit of Complete Start as the winner of the first-ever Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group Innovation Award “Empowering Patients: An Innovation Challenge in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.”
Second- and third-place prizes were awarded to Vik Kashyap of Toi Labs and Scott Sundvor of Nima Labs, respectively.
The Innovation Challenge was open to established companies of all sizes whose founders have been affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), whether as a patient or through a loved one, and who have created a product or service to address an issue encountered by IBD patients.
Jon Margalit founded Complete Start in 2017 to provide convenient, nutritious breakfast shakes for IBD patients and others seeking healthy meal replacement alternatives. Toi Labs, started by Vik Kashyap, makes innovative toilet seats that collect data from waste to improve health and wellness. Nima Labs was founded by Scott Sundvor to launch the world’s first portable gluten sensor.
“Each Innovation Challenge award winner has launched a health care company with a mission and passion for improving the lives of people afflicted with inflammatory bowel disease,” said Dr. Deneen Vojta, UnitedHealth Group Executive Vice President, Research & Development. “We believe their products and services have great potential for getting to the market and making the strongest impact on people’s health and quality of life.”
Eleven finalists joined Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group in Minnetonka for the two-day challenge. An expert panel of judges selected the first-, second- and third-place winners with awards of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.
The panel included experts from the patient, business and medical communities including Rebecca Babcock, a Patient Ambassador at Lyfebulb; Shomit Ghose, General Partner at ONSET Ventures; Dr. Karin Hehenberger, Founder and CEO of Lyfebulb; Dr. Gerard Honig, Translational Research Manager at Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation; Dr. Scott Ketover, President and CEO of Minnesota Gastroenterology, P.A.; and Dr. Deneen Vojta, Executive Vice President of Research & Development, UnitedHealth Group.
“We salute each of our Patient Entrepreneur finalists and UnitedHealth Group for helping us bring focus to issues confronting and solutions for people affected by IBD,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, Founder and CEO of Lyfebulb. “All our Challenge participants share our vision of reducing the burden of chronic disease. We appreciate the support of the IBD community in sharing its insights into unmet patient needs and putting forth a tremendous pool of applicants for this Challenge.”
IBD comprises a group of disorders in which the intestines become inflamed, probably as a result of an immune reaction of the body against its own intestinal tissue. The disease category covers Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. About 3 million adults nationwide reported being diagnosed with IBD as of 2015, compared with 2 million adults in 1999.
Lyfebulb is a chronic disease focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients, industry (manufacturers and payers) and investors to support user-driven innovation. Lyfebulb promotes a healthy, take-charge lifestyle for those affected by chronic disease. Grounded with its strong foundation in Diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into Cancer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/ or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.
Karin Hehenberger, M.D., Ph.D., CEO