Winter and the BUGS

Autoimmune diseases such as MS, Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis all have the basic problem where the individual’s immune system turns against itself as opposed to fighting the outside world. Something beyond the genetic set up is needed to trigger the disease and so far, celiac disease (or gluten intolerance) is the only autoimmune disease where we know what the trigger is – gluten. There are about 100 different autoimmune diseases, and in the US alone, about 50M people suffer from one or more of these conditions.

Type 1 diabetes is also an autoimmune disease, but in contrast to the ones I mentioned above, the treatment is rather different due to the progression of the disease. When a person is diagnosed with T1D, their insulin-producing cells are almost already all gone. Although scientists have shown that the human pancreas may have some regenerative capacity under certain conditions (obesity and pregnancy for example), we are not leveraging that in today’s clinical practice since there is no drug approved for that purpose yet, and we have not come up with a safe way to combat the immune system at the same time. That is the very issue with T1D, it is a constant battle between the body’s own immune system which is trying to destroy insulin-producing cells, and the lack of the body’s regenerative capacity in the pancreas. This battle can be distorted for years, and that is why some people are diagnosed as toddlers while others in their 40s! When one is diagnosed as an older individual, most often the disease is less aggressive, and perhaps these individuals still have some cells left and thus some endogenous (their own) insulin capacity.

Back to the contrast with other autoimmune diseases – in diabetes the treatment is to replace the missing hormone, insulin or to enhance the effects of insulin, while in other autoimmune diseases the treatment is to reduce the autoimmune attack since the tissue that is being destroyed often is regenerated in between flares. For example, in Crohn’s disease, the intestine is the target, but during long periods of time, there are no symptoms at all, and the goal of course is to maintain that status for as much time as possible without impacting other functions of the immune system.

So what are the risks now that we are entering the winter months? Well, for one, the flu season is upon us, children are gathering inside rather than outside, incubating their germs and spreading them more easily. There is no good scientific episode to show that the cold weather would trigger virus and bacterial infections, but common sense still says we seem to get sicker when we are cold. A person with an autoimmune disease, who needs daily medication to inhibit the immune system from destroying an organ system or tissue, is more vulnerable to catching and developing a more serious infection. The bigger problem is when the individual has caught an infection, and it spreads, since the best way to limit the damage is to improve one’s own system, but by doing this, the autoimmune disease is less restricted and can cause a flare.

My personal situation is further complicated by two organ transplants and the medication I am taking to reduce the risk of rejecting those organs. When I develop an infection, my doctors often reduce the amount of immune suppressing medication I take to allow for my own system to get rid of the infection in addition to quickly determining what the agent is that we are dealing with so that the right kind of anti-infective medication can be put in place. Targeting the virus, bacteria or parasite correctly and quickly is of utmost importance, and today’s analytical equipment is quite sophisticated but it still often takes days for the final result. Prior to having that, the doctors often prescribe some super duper antibiotic to kill off a majority of bugs, and in my case, that lead to opportunistic bugs taking over last year and three bouts of clostridium difficile ensued. When the immune suppressants have been reduced, I face two major threats, one being rejecting my kidney and pancreas on the basis of foreign bodies inside my body, and the second one my own autoimmunity may flare up and start attacking the new pancreas, like it did my first one.

My advice to anyone with an autoimmune disease, or with an organ transplant, is to try to avoid getting sick! Easier said than done, and one cannot live one’s life inside a bubble, but there are a few simple precautions:

1: avoid interacting with large groups of people (especially young children) inside during the winter months

2: wash your hands after using public transportation and before having food or drinks

3: do not eat any raw foods in restaurants, including pre-cut fruits

4: ask for water without ice when traveling to exotic places

5: if someone at work or in school is sick, do not interact with them

6: as soon as you start feeling a cold coming on, take precautions such as hydrate, rest, and if you have a temperature, seek medical advice asap

7: make sure you have taken the flu shot and any other vaccinations appropriate in the locale you are residing

 

 

Diabetes and Tennis:When I Was First Diagnosed

I used to play tennis every day and often more than 1 hr each day – I loved the game and I was very good at it. This was before I was diagnosed with diabetes – after that, I never won again and I lost my love for the game completely.

I don’t think diabetes is 100% to blame for this, but probably at least 50 percent. When I was diagnosed, the summer of 1989, I had just reached the finals of a large national tournament in Sweden, and even though I lost in the final, I had done very well, especially since I had suffered from tonsillitis three times during the spring preceding this event, and I had been seriously injured the year before.

However, after my diagnosis I lost my confidence in my body. I had never had such a failure in my life and here I was, at 17 years of age (I spent my bday in the hospital getting trained on injections and glucose monitoring), feeling like I was suddenly disabled. Little did I know that the complications they warned me about during those first few weeks with diabetes would be a reality less than 20 years later and that I would go through two transplants before I turned 40!

Tennis represented so much to me as a young person, I spent most of my free time either playing tennis, getting to tournaments, working out to play better or preparing ahead of games. I loved going to my club and I even loved hanging out after tennis, relaxing and feeling the work-out in my body and if I had won, feeling strong and confident.

I guess the closest to this feeling in my current life, is when I present at conferences or when I have an important business meeting. I have the same feeling of anticipation, preparation and then during the presentation I have a high – triggered by endorphins and I am on top of the world for the duration of the event. The problem is coming down afterwards.  Being in the zone is all and well, but afterwards I feel empty, anxious and even sad.

As a diabetic, sometimes these events could be affected by my disease. For example, if my blood sugar was running low and I had to go up on the stage for a presentation, I would need to quickly eat something to avoid the risk of passing out and the absolute certainty of presenting poorly because my brain did not have enough sugar to work with. When I was high, I could also feel it, since I would get slower in my thoughts and especially in my reasoning. I would rather be high than low, and my solution to avoiding this roller coaster was to always keep myself slightly high, but not high enough to be slow, blurry-eyed or lethargic.

After getting my pancreas transplant in January of 2010 I have not experienced any of these feelings and it is such a relief and such an advantage! I sometimes say that I did not know how hard it was living with diabetes before I got a pancreas transplant and realized what normal life is supposed to be and how good I felt. Achieving that feeling for everyone with diabetes is our goal, and while we pursue the cure, we need to identify a range of products that can help people with daily life.

I hope that I will get back to tennis one day, but for some reason, tennis more than any other sport is linked to my life before diabetes that I lost. I know that I have a new chance, and should be incorporating tennis into my life, but it is easier for me to exercise otherwise without ever feeling that diabetes, transplants and age have had a negative effect on my performance!

Eleven finalists have been chosen for the first ever Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award in Oncology

Eleven finalists have been chosen for the first ever Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award in Oncology

 

  • Eleven finalists have been selected from a strong roster of talent to compete at the inaugural Lyfebulb-Helsinn  Innovation Summit, March 26-27, Monaco
  • The Award recognizes Patient Entrepreneurs’ innovations for cancer and cancer supportive care using drugs, medical devices, consumer products, or healthcare information technologies
  • The award will be presented to the finalist demonstrating outstanding science and entrepreneurial potential to bring their ideas to the market

Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Award & Summit

MONACO, PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO and NEW YORK, NY, March 1, 2018:

 

Lyfebulb, a patient empowerment platform that connects patients, industry and investors to support user-driven innovation in chronic diseases, and Helsinn, with activities focused on early-stage investments in areas of high unmet patient need, today announce the names of the eleven companies launched by patient entrepreneurs who are chosen as finalists for the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award in Oncology. The finalists are invited to compete at the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award, which will be hosted on 26-27 March 2018, by Lyfebulb and Helsinn at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, in Monaco, Principality of Monaco.

Due to the high quality and quantity of applications this year, there will be 11 finalists:

  • Samuel Wagner of Batu Biologics, Inc
  • Massimo Bocchi of Cellply Srl
  • Walid Al-Akkad of Engitix Ltd
  • Gitte Pedersen of Genomic Expression, Inc
  • Lorenzo Pradella of GreenBone Ortho srl
  • Samir Housri of Mednet, Inc
  • Till Erdmann of Myelo Therapeutics GmbH
  • Christian Apfel of SageMedic, Inc
  • Aaron Horowitz of Sproutel, Inc
  • Thierry Desjardins of Surgisafe Ltd
  • Boaz Gaon of Wisdo Ltd

The Award will recognize outstanding potential among entrepreneurs who have demonstrated an ability to develop and bring to the market innovation designed to improve the quality of life of people with cancer using drugs, medical devices, consumer products and healthcare information technologies. The finalists represent companies of all sizes that have been founded by cancer patients, cancer survivors, or those with close relatives with cancer.

The finalists were selected by Karin Hehenberger, MD PhD, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb, Leslie Brille, Chief Investment Officer, Lyfebulb, Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO and Roberto De Ponti, Head of Corporate New Ventures and Strategic Investments, Helsinn International Services. The Innovation Summit has been founded upon Lyfebulb’s concept of Patient Entrepreneurship and Helsinn’s determination to provide the best supportive care for cancer patients and to improve the health and quality of life of every person affected by cancer. A “pitch session” will be held at the summit, where a winner will be selected from the eleven finalists by a panel of experts.

“At Lyfebulb, we interact with numerous individuals who are using their own experiences with chronic disease to originate and develop effective solutions to help others. The level of innovation demonstrated by people who submitted their ideas to the first Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Award were of a very high caliber and we commend all of them. Core to Lyfebulb’s Mission is to empower individuals living with chronic disease, and by embracing patient entrepreneurs and furthering their ideas and businesses, we are doing exactly that.” says Dr. Karin Hehenberger.

Riccardo Braglia added, “I know from experience how a cancer diagnosis can often be a spur towards greater dynamism and entrepreneurship and have seen many examples of great innovation from people who have first-hand experience with the disease. I am looking forward to learning more about the potential of their concepts and am confident that the expertise and industry experience of the judging panel will help choose a finalist who can innovate to improve the lives of people with cancer.”

About Lyfebulb

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.

See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

About Helsinn International Services sarl

Helsinn International Services sarl is the Helsinn subsidiary which provides a range of advisory services and strategic activities to the Group and its specific companies. In particular, it acts as the advisory company to Helsinn Investment Fund.  

About Helsinn Investment Fund S.A., SICAR

The Helsinn Investment Fund is focused on early-stage investments in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by the Helsinn Group, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity and respect, Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients.

For more information, visit www.helsinninvestmentfund.com

About the Helsinn Group

Helsinn is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland, the U.S., Monaco and China, as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally.

To learn more about Helsinn Group please visit www.helsinn.com

For more information:

Helsinn Group Media Contact
Paola Bonvicini
Group Head of Communication
Lugano, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0) 91 985 21 21
For more information, please visit www.helsinn.com and follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and Vimeo.

Press Contact for Lyfebulb:

Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD
CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb,
Phone: + 00 1 917-575-0210
karin@lyfebulb.com
www.lyfebulb.com
We are on Twitter. Follow us @Lyfebulb

Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind with Sigurjón Lýðsson

Sigurjon Lydsson

Having a chronic-illness can be challenging, and running your own business can be hard. No matter where you fit on the spectrum, we could all use a little motivation.  Our #InsidethePatientEntrepreneursMind blog series gives you insight and life hacks on how to stay motivated from some of the most innovative patient entrepreneurs in the world.

Sigurjón Lýðsson is the CEO and Co-Founder of Medilync, a medical platform which builds cloud-based medical solutions where big data, IoT, and engagement are key to alleviating the burden of diabetes.

Sigurjón sat down with Lyfebulb to tell us how his father’s medical diagnosis with T1D, cancer and his short term memory lost motivated him to look for a solution that would help his family and medical provider manage the care of his father.

What motivated you to create a business addressing a disease you know so well?
My father has had Type I diabetes for apporx 40 years now. When growing up we usually didn’t notice that he had T1D, he never complained about it. Captain on a shipping vessel with 8-10 souls he was told he couldn’t do it. He never gave in. In later years he started to show symptoms of memory loss. We, his sons, would joke about that and so did he. But when he was diagnosed with cancer and it had spread to his brain, we got ever so more worried. At that time he had forgot if he’d measured his glucose or even if he injected or not. So when we were told his tumor would affect his memory I started looking for a solution for my dad. I could not find it! I still can’t as I am still trying to get it funded. I know I have the solution, but I fear it will be too late for my dad. If I can help anyone else live a better, safer life then I will be happy.

What are some of the hurdles you perceive exist for people with your disease?
Diabetes is one of the toughest disease out there. But information flow in general is what is the biggest hurdle today. Information from patients to clinicians is too cumbersome and usually only verbal from the patient to clinicians. We have a solution that has changed that.

Who are some of your role models in your space?
Not necessary in my field but Juan Mata Garcia is my latest role model. Kind person to those who need it, gives 1% of his Manchester United income to others. Bill Gates is another one I admire. Using his wealth to find a cure for polio for example, is just amazing.

What is your goal beyond creating a successful business?
Help people live better and safer lives.

What does Lyfebulb mean to you? How can we support you better? What are some of the biggest gaps today for a “young” entrepreneur?
Funding a company doing a hardware for diabetes is really difficult so anything in that area would definitely help.

How do you stay healthy and motivated to deliver?
As I am 75% likely, due to genes, to get Type II diabetes I do take care of my nutrition and I do cross-fit 5 times a week. That gives me the energy I need to get ahead of the curb.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Mentorships are key to new companies to a difficult market.

How can we draw more attention to user-driven innovation?
Solely by involving the users more.

How do you maintain work/life balance?
I would always be lying if I’d say that I can control it, but I do my best.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?
I could create a legacy which saves lives 2) My family be safe from harm 3) Peace on earth ☺.

What is your favorite song that gets you motivated?
My own song Unity 😉


#InsidethePatientEntrepreneursMind is a weekly blog series that highlights members of Lyfebulb’s Patient-Entrepreneur Circle. The Entrepreneur Circle is an educational and inspirational platform for all people living with, or affected by chronic disease. Existing entrepreneurs will be available to educate new dreamers through the website and through live events. To read more or to apply to join the Enrepreneur Circle click here.

A call for action to patient entrepreneurs in the area of cancer to compete at the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Summit for the first ever Lyfebulb- Helsinn Innovation Award

The Award recognizes Patient Entrepreneurs’ Innovative Efforts and Ideas for cancer and cancer supportive care using drugs, medical devices, consumer products, or healthcare information technologies. Newly appointed jury panel members unveiled Deadline for submissions: January 22, 2018

MONACO, PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO and NEW YORK, NY, JANUARY, 9, 2018:Lyfebulb and Helsinn Investment Fund S.A., a fund focused on early-stage investments in areas of high unmet patient need, invite patient entrepreneurs that have embraced and endured the real life experiences of cancer to compete for the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Award. It has been announced today that:

  • Carolyn R. “Bo” Aldige, President and Founder of the Prevent Cancer Foundation
  • Stephen Squinto, PhD, Lyfebulb Chairman and Co-Founder, Venture Partner at Orbimed, and Co-Founder of Alexion
  • Professor Patrick Rampal, MD, President of the Scientific Center of Monaco
  • Professor Franco Cavalli, MD, Director of Oncology, Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland
  • Professor Françoise Meunier, MD, EORTC Director Special Projects

are the newly-appointed jury panel members of the first Lyfebulb- Helsinn Innovation Award. The Award will recognize outstanding entrepreneurial potential to commercialize innovative efforts and ideas to better manage and improve the quality of life of cancer patients with respect, integrity, and quality, using drugs, medical devices, consumer products and healthcare information technologies. Established companies of all sizes founded by cancer patients, cancer survivors, or those having a close relative with cancer, who have created a product to address issues encountered by cancer patients, are invited to submit applications by January 22, 2018, through the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award website, where more information regarding eligibility and key criteria can also be found.

Ten finalists will be selected by Karin Hehenberger, MD PhD, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb, and Mr. Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, and invited to compete at the Innovation Summit which will be hosted on 26-27 March 2018, by Helsinn Investment Fund at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, in Monaco, Principality of Monaco. The Summit is founded upon Lyfebulb’s concept of Patient Entrepreneurship and Helsinn’s determination to provide the best supportive care for cancer patients and to improve the health and quality of life of every person affected by cancer. At the summit, the top finalists will be chosen by a panel of experts through a special “pitch session.” In recognition of the best innovative efforts and ideas, a symbolic monetary prize of USD 25’000 will be given to the entrepreneur winner to advance his/her business and use his/her life expertise to help manage the burden of cancer.

“At Lyfebulb, we come into contact with many people who are putting their own experiences with cancer towards developing solutions to help others. Now, for the first time, patient entrepreneurs have the opportunity to receive exposure and financing toward their companies through a targeted event to help them advance their cause,” says Dr. Karin Hehenberger.

Riccardo Braglia added, “Lyfebulb is about encouraging the best in patient entrepreneurship, drawing on the talents of people with first-hand experience of the cancer journey to help develop innovative approaches to cancer supportive care, and this is very much aligned with Helsinn’s journey. We are delighted of the jury panel – their expertise, experience, industry knowledge and dynamism in helping people with cancer will be invaluable.”

About Lyfebulb
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.

See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

About Helsinn Investment Fund
The Helsinn Investment Fund is focused on early-stage investments in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by the Helsinn Group, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity and respect, Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients. Drawing on Helsinn’s over 40 years of investment into research and development and commercial expertise, the investment fund selects companies with technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions.
For more information, visit www.helsinninvestmentfund.com

About the Helsinn Group
Helsinn is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. Since 2012, Helsinn has been coordinating clinical and regulatory activities in China from Beijing and in 2017 established an office in Shanghai to pursue commercial activities. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland, and the U.S., as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally.

For more information:
Helsinn Group Media Contact
Paola Bonvicini
Group Head of Communication, Helsinn
Lugano, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0) 91 985 21 21
Info-hhc@helsinn.com
Please visit www.helsinn.com
We are on Twitter. Follow us @HelsinnGroup
We are on LinkedIn. Follow us @ Helsinn Group

Press Contact for Lyfebulb:
Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD
CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb,
Phone: + 00 1 917-575-0210
Email: karin@lyfebulb.com
Please visit www.lyfebulb.com
We are on Twitter. Follow us @Lyfebulb

Lyfebulb Partners with UnitedHealth Group to Support Patient-Driven Innovations for People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lyfebulb, a chronic disease-focused, patient-empowerment platform that connects patients, industry and investors to support user-driven innovation, is partnering with UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) to launch an innovation challenge featuring new businesses and products aimed at treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, up to 1.3 million people in the United States are affected by IBD, which includes Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group will help raise awareness for the conditions and stimulate user-driven innovation. By linking entrepreneurs with representatives from UnitedHealth Group and Lyfebulb, the partnership will spotlight the entrepreneurs’ efforts and ideas, and provide professional discussion, direction and inspiration.

The innovation challenge, to take place in the spring and summer of 2018, will be open to entrepreneurs living with IBD, or who have family members living with IBD, who have founded a company to develop an innovative idea for better management of IBD using pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices or consumer products. Eligibility criteria and official rules will be announced by Lyfebulb in April. UnitedHealth Group will host an innovation event in July for 10 finalists. A panel of judges will award cash prizes to three winners, to be used for their company’s further development of the winning innovations.

“Patients living with chronic disease and caregivers caring for someone with chronic disease understand the many challenges they face and are often in the best position to offer tangible solutions,” said Deneen Vojta, M.D., executive vice president, Research & Development, UnitedHealth Group. “UnitedHealth Group’s partnership with Lyfebulb will help place the patient at the center of early-stage innovation, thus providing us a unique opportunity to learn from and be inspired by patient-entrepreneurs.”

“This partnership with UnitedHealth Group in IBD means a tremendous amount to Lyfebulb in our efforts to enhance patient-driven innovation,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb. “Continuing to build on the concept of patient entrepreneurs and partnering with leaders across health care are key components to fulfilling our mission to improve the quality of life of people living with chronic disease.”

Press Contact for Lyfebulb:
Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD, CEO Lyfebulb, phone: 917-575-0210 email: karin@lyfebulb.com

About Lyfebulb
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 IBD.

See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

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 www.unitedhealthgroup.com or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.

Press Contact for UnitedHealth Group:
Jim Merwin, Senior Director, ERD, phone: 952-936-6070, to email: james_merwin@uhg.com

Science, Technology, Investor Reception

“How Patients are Driving Innovation in the Future Healthcare Environment ”

Dr. Karin Hehenberger is the founder of Lyfebulb, a business focused on bridging patient communities with industry and providing a strong voice to people living with chronic disease by empowering patient entre-preneurs. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at an early age, Dr. Hehen-berger has dedicated her life to helping others impacted by chronic ill-nesses. Her personal history with diabetes as well as its consequences, which required kidney and pancreas transplants, provide Dr. Hehen-berger with an understanding from a patient perspective as well as a med-ical professional. It is from those experiences both as a patient and as a doctor, that Dr. Hehenberger was motivated to create Lyfebulb.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
8:00pm

Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (GCCRI); 8403 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229

Source: UT Health San Antonio

Press Contact for Lyfebulb: 
Shepard Doniger
BDCG, Inc.
561-637-5750
sdoniger@bdcginc.com

Patient Entrepreneur Amin Zayani of Med Angel BV Selected as the Winner of the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award

The Innovation Awards Recognize Patient Entrepreneurs for Their Innovative and Disruptive Ideas for Management of Diabetes Using Consumer, Medical Devices, or Healthcare Information Technologies

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Nov. 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Patient Entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Med Angel BV, Amin Zayani was named the recipient of the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award for his work in addressing the management of diabetes and received a grant of $25,000. Amin Zayani was selected from a group of twelve finalists (which can be found here) after dozens of Award submissions were received from 25 countries. In addition, Linh Le, represented by Malcolm Nason, of Bonbouton and Jen Horonjeff of Savvy Cooperative received second and third place in the competition, and were awarded $15,000 and $10,000 respectively. The winners were selected by an international panel of judges.

The Summit jury was comprised of Magnus Persson, MD, PhD, a board professional, Professor John Nolan, Special Advisor to the President of EASD, Shaukat Sadikot, MD, President of the International Diabetes Foundation, Shomit Ghose, Partner at Onset Ventures (and the jury Chairman), and Vanessa Pirolo, a patient representative. Mr. Ghose, states:

“Diabetes is a global health issue affecting a diverse population. The Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit brought together diverse solutions from global innovators. As a venture capitalist, it was exciting for me to see all of the disruptive solutions that came forward.”

Amin Zayani, who took first place, described his reaction at being announced the winner:

“This prize represents a lot of recognition for our company’s mission and we are raising awareness of the importance of properly storing insulin at home. When one of the world leaders in making insulin recognizes the problem as well, it consolidates our case. I’m so happy and proud, this prize motivates me to continue what I’m doing.”

The Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Summit and Award spotlights outstanding Patient Entrepreneurs’ innovative ideas to disrupt the future management of Diabetes via consumer products, medical devices, or healthcare information technologies. The twelve finalists attended the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit November 6-8, 2017 hosted by Novo Nordisk A/S in Copenhagen, Denmark, which provided a unique opportunity for visibility and recognition in this highly competitive arena. For more information please visit Lyfebulb’s website.

Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb states:

“This year’s Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit in Diabetes saw an increase in number of applications from a wider range of countries than last year. The interaction with the 12 finalists proved rewarding for all parties involved, including the distinguished jury, invited guests, Novo Nordisk, and Lyfebulb leadership. We congratulate the three winners chosen by our diverse jury. We believe, however, that all of the finalists have promising futures in this space, and above all, show that their personal ‘lived experiences’ are strong value-adds to the businesses they are building. Lyfebulb’s concept of empowering patient entrepreneurs and to bridge industry with patient communities was clearly validated through this Summit.”

Senior Vice President for Novo Nordisk Device R&D Kenneth Strømdahl adds:

“Entrepreneurial spirit is fueled by great ideas and passion, and patient communities provide vital insights into how we can foster patient-driven innovation. It was a great pleasure to engage with the 12 finalists and there is no doubt that we are all working towards the same goal to ultimately defeat diabetes.”

For more information, please visit Lyfebulb’s website.

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November 08, 2017 09:14 ET | Source: Lyfebulb
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Nov. 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Patient Entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Med Angel BV, Amin Zayani was named the recipient of the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award for his work in addressing the management of diabetes and received a grant of $25,000. Amin Zayani was selected from a group of twelve finalists (which can be found here) after dozens of Award submissions were received from 25 countries. In addition, Linh Le, represented by Malcolm Nason, of Bonbouton and Jen Horonjeff of Savvy Cooperative received second and third place in the competition, and were awarded $15,000 and $10,000 respectively. The winners were selected by an international panel of judges.

The Summit jury was comprised of Magnus Persson, MD, PhD, a board professional, Professor John Nolan, Special Advisor to the President of EASD, Shaukat Sadikot, MD, President of the International Diabetes Foundation, Shomit Ghose, Partner at Onset Ventures (and the jury Chairman), and Vanessa Pirolo, a patient representative. Mr. Ghose, states:

“Diabetes is a global health issue affecting a diverse population. The Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit brought together diverse solutions from global innovators. As a venture capitalist, it was exciting for me to see all of the disruptive solutions that came forward.”

Amin Zayani, who took first place, described his reaction at being announced the winner:

“This prize represents a lot of recognition for our company’s mission and we are raising awareness of the importance of properly storing insulin at home. When one of the world leaders in making insulin recognizes the problem as well, it consolidates our case. I’m so happy and proud, this prize motivates me to continue what I’m doing.”

The Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Summit and Award spotlights outstanding Patient Entrepreneurs’ innovative ideas to disrupt the future management of Diabetes via consumer products, medical devices, or healthcare information technologies. The twelve finalists attended the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit November 6-8, 2017 hosted by Novo Nordisk A/S in Copenhagen, Denmark, which provided a unique opportunity for visibility and recognition in this highly competitive arena. For more information please visit Lyfebulb’s website.

Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb states:

“This year’s Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit in Diabetes saw an increase in number of applications from a wider range of countries than last year. The interaction with the 12 finalists proved rewarding for all parties involved, including the distinguished jury, invited guests, Novo Nordisk, and Lyfebulb leadership. We congratulate the three winners chosen by our diverse jury. We believe, however, that all of the finalists have promising futures in this space, and above all, show that their personal ‘lived experiences’ are strong value-adds to the businesses they are building. Lyfebulb’s concept of empowering patient entrepreneurs and to bridge industry with patient communities was clearly validated through this Summit.”

Senior Vice President for Novo Nordisk Device R&D Kenneth Strømdahl adds:

“Entrepreneurial spirit is fueled by great ideas and passion, and patient communities provide vital insights into how we can foster patient-driven innovation. It was a great pleasure to engage with the 12 finalists and there is no doubt that we are all working towards the same goal to ultimately defeat diabetes.”

For more information, please visit Lyfebulb’s website.

About Lyfebulb

Lyfebulb is a business focused on bridging patient communities with industry, and providing a strong voice to people living with chronic disease by empowering patient entrepreneurs and patient ambassadors. See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

About Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat other serious chronic conditions: haemophilia, growth disorders and obesity. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 42,000 people in 77 countries and markets its products in more than 165 countries. For more information, visit novonordisk.com, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube

Source: Nasdaq Globe News Wire

Press Contact for Lyfebulb: 
Shepard Doniger
BDCG, Inc.
561-637-5750
sdoniger@bdcginc.com

New York-based Lyfebulb is helping diabetes patients become ‘patient’ entrepreneurs

Lyfebulb showcases and mentors ‘patient entrepreneurs’ – entrepreneurs who are affected by chronic diseases and are building businesses which target those suffering from chronic diseases.

Karin Hehenberger was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1989, at an early age. Her chronic illness required her to go through kidney and pancreas transplants. With a dual perspective as a patient and a doctor, Dr Karin decided to do something to help other people impacted by chronic illnesses, to work on businesses that will help other patients.

Karin founded Lyfebulb with two close friends and colleagues, Riccardo Braglia, CEO of Helsinn, and Stephen Squinto, Venture Partner at Orbimed and Co-founder of Alexion. The idea was to build an organisation that bridges patients with industry. “After my experience as a medical doctor, healthcare executive, and Type 1 diabetic, I personally understand that there’s a gap in the development of solutions for patients and know the impact patients can have on improving solutions to their quality of care,” Dr. Karin says.

She wanted to showcase individuals who, like her, were not accepting of the role of a passive patient, but willing to take on the challenge of changing the future for themselves and others living with chronic disease. Lyfebulb calls these individuals “patient entrepreneurs” not to be confused with the meaning of ‘patience’. These people are anything but patient, but they are living with a chronic disease or closely related to someone with a chronic disease and they are not just sitting back waiting for solutions. They are out there creating products and solutions that may help them and others in the near term.

Although it is not a requirement that the founders be patients of chronic diseases, they have to be personally affected by diabetes or a chronic illness. They often have the disease themselves, other times a friend or family member is living with the disease.
Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle features people who have made their disease their career. They identify an issue in their lives with the disease and then they address that issue by creating a product or an entire company. At Lyfebulb, they maintain a blog and are active on social media as a way of building the community and getting valuable information to people living with chronic illness. They have hosted many events in different areas of chronic illness, including diabetes, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which are informational as well as community building. They hold innovation summits with large companies where they ask patient entrepreneurs to apply, choose 10-12 finalists, and then bring them together to compete for monetary prizes and interact with a pharma leadership, VCs, and thought leaders.

“We have hosted 26 events in the three years since we started Lyfebulb in New York City, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. This year we are hosting our second annual Innovation Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark and next year, we will host another summit/award in another therapeutic area, in addition to diabetes,” adds Dr Karin on their events so far and future plans.

Lyfebulb has entered into a partnership with Novo Nordisk to grow the Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle and to establish the Lyfebulb–Novo Nordisk Innovation Award to recognize promising startups founded by patient entrepreneurs. The winner of the 2016 edition of the award was Brianna Wolin, CEO & Co-Founder at Find Your Ditto. Brianna has lived with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease most of her life. Find Your Ditto is the only mobile platform that connects individuals living with the same chronic illness locally for on-demand, in-person peer support to mitigate feelings of loneliness and depression. Users can find their ‘dittos’ and begin to feel like “it’s not just me.”

Lyfebulb also mentors patient entrepreneurs and they help certain companies secure funding through their network. While they do not have an incubator currently, forming a virtual one is in the pipeline. They are also contemplating on raising a venture fund called Lyfebulb Ventures, but may proceed with making specific investments into companies instead.

Source: Your Story

Press Contact for Lyfebulb: 
Shepard Doniger
BDCG, Inc.
561-637-5750
sdoniger@bdcginc.com

Where Are They Now? 2016 LBNNAward Finalist: David Weingard, CEO & Founder at Fit4D

As we get closer to the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award, we sat down with last years finalist, CEO and founder of Fit4D, David Weingard to get a little insight on last years summit, and why Patient Entrepreneurs matter.


Bruna Petrillo: Tell us a little bit about Fit4D.

David Weingard: I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 36 years old, working at Microsoft and training for an upcoming race. I was overwhelmed and confused about the diagnosis, as I had no family history and was physically fit. My doctor taught me how to use insulin, saw me for another session, and that was it.  After that, I was on my own and needed help.  Then I found Cecilia, a certified diabetes educator (CDE), who compassionately gave me steps to follow to help me become productive again in my personal and professional life. I figured out how to race Ironman triathlons with diabetes and realized that I could accomplish anything if I had the right knowledge, support, and mentality. One day, I was on my way to a race in Idaho, and I thought to myself, this experience I’ve had — if we could scale that personal coaching using tech, we could do something amazing. What if I could bring everyone a Cecilia? That’s where the idea for Fit4D came about.

I realized that I could accomplish anything if I had the right knowledge, support, and mentality.

Our mission is to improve the lives of people with diabetes.  Fit4D uses technology to scale the human touch of a Certified Diabetes Educator with a patient. We provide personalized diabetes coaching services through our network of Certified Diabetes Educators, and we’re able to scale our coaching to reach large populations of diabetes patients by leveraging everyday technology. This ultimately leads to improved health outcomes.

Unfortunately, many patients don’t have access to CDEs and remain overwhelmed by the 24/7 chronic disease.  Fit4D works with payers and pharmaceutical companies to provide patients with personalized one-on-one support from an expert CDE.

BP: You were a finalist for the 2016 LBNN Award, what was your biggest takeaway from the Summit?

DW: I loved learning from other patient entrepreneurs. We have so much in common, but still have unique perspectives and different aspects of the disease that we’re focused on improving. It was great to meet the Novo Nordisk development and product teams and feel their passion for helping people w diabetes.

BP: Why do Patient Entrepreneurs matter?

DW: People who work in the healthcare space are starting to realize the importance of bringing care to patients by understanding their experiences and personalizing support to each individual. Who would know better about the patient experience than patients themselves! Patient Entrepreneurs bring that personal perspective to the table in order to make realistic, empathetic, and most-needed changes. Because we relate to patients’ frustrations by experiencing those same frustrations ourselves, we can identify problems and stay motivated to find solutions that are practical and useful. It’s also inspiring for people with chronic diseases to see what patient entrepreneurs can accomplish and how it’s possible to take control of your health and your life to become successful.

Patient Entrepreneurs bring that personal perspective to the table in order to make realistic, empathetic, and most-needed changes.

BP: What has been your greatest achievement since the LBNN Award?

DW: Fit4D launched with Humana which is opening the door for us to further scale patient volume and patient engagement  with expert support from certified diabetes educators. Our goal is to give everyone in the world that essential support from an expert clinician…we’re on our way to achieving it!

BP: What advice would you give to those applying for the 2017 LBNN Award?

This is an award for patient entrepreneurs, so don’t forget to share your patient story and explain how your business uniquely empowers people with diabetes.

Make sure that your solution has market potential – pay attention to the market/buyers you are trying to reach, so that your idea can become a reality in the marketplace.

The Importance of Patient Entrepreneurs

Lately, there has been a change in the approach of how people are perceiving diabetes and the people living with the disease. 

When I was diagnosed with T1D in 1989, diabetes was considered a very serious disease. One changed behaviors, got on insulin, and tried very hard to avoid going high in blood sugar to avoid complications. Nowadays, the attitude is that we live with the disease and can be like everyone else! ‘The disease should not limit us, and if we use advanced gadgets we can live beyond the disease without thinking about it too much.’

As you can imagine, this attitude does not work with the chronic and progressive nature of the disease.

Despite all technology, we cannot live a life without thinking about diabetes all the time if we want to stay healthy.

This is the problem with today’s approaches and the spirit in which we are teaching our newly diagnosed friends and family. There are definitely individuals who, like me, want to understand every aspect of diabetes to treat it better and to find a cure for everyone. Though the larger group of people just want a life in which they can focus on family, work, hobbies and everything but diabetes!

So what can we do? The over ambitious few will always pursue additional detail, perfect blood sugars and the financings of products that make the control a little bit better with a lot of extra effort. Even I, being an MD, PhD, and life sciences executive for almost two decades, could not manage the technology day in and day out. I ended up attempting to stay stable, but was a little too high most of the time (which led to kidney and eye complications). So how can someone with a busy life who is less tech savvy use all these new devices?

For the people with little time to themselves, lack of access and training, we must find other motivators and ways to achieve control until we find real cures.

There are great examples of success using this principle – John Sjölund created a cap for insulin pens that tells the patients when and how much insulin was dosed; Jennifer Ross is responsible for Bemixed, a sugar-free, organic and delicious cocktail mixer; Jeffrey Brewer leads Bigfoot with a team of people motivated beyond money to create a closed loop that removes the burden of dealing with diabetes; Matt Loper motivated by his family’s plague with T2D is creating an incredible based adherence plan that helps patients improve their health and thus reduces costs for insurers and providers. Finally John Crowley’s career has been motivated by his children’s struggle with Pompe’s Disease, a rare neuromuscular disorder, to found Novazyme Pharmaceuticals in his quest to find a cure.

At Lyfebulb, we want to create an environment where leading drug/device/biotech and Healthcare IT, as well as consumer companies, listen to innovators and leaders from the patient communities – not just for marketing and advocacy but for innovation and strategy.

Patient Entrepreneurs are future leaders in their own space – they are motivated by their personal curse that they have turned into a passion and an opportunity to create wealth and power.

What could be better from a socioeconomic perspective than to move the cost from the victim to revenue generated by a patient leader?

As people living with diabetes, it should never be a sacrifice to modify our diets or change our behavior – it is an investment in our future! Take charge of your health and future – become or start supporting patient entrepreneurs!

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