The Second Annual Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award


The second Annual Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit and Award was a huge success! We just returned from a cold but sunny Copenhagen, Denmark, where 12 of the most innovative thinkers in diabetes management competed in a challenge in front of top Novo, Lyfebulb and other life sciences professionals, engaged with each other and point people at Novo Nordisk, and participated in work-shops and one-on-ones to both learn and teach.

The concept we created three years ago – patient entrepreneurship – has taken off, and what we saw last week was a true reflection of the idea that people living with disease or in close proximity of someone with the disease, can identify and solve for problems that may not be apparent to those with no connection beyond business and science. Diabetes is the first disease we have embarked on, for personal reasons, since I was diagnosed with T1D in 1989 and have been pursuing better solutions for myself and others since.

Our jury this year was strong, including top venture capitalists Shomit Gose (Managing Director ONSET Ventures) and Dr Magnus Persson (Chairman at Galecto BioTech and board professional), as well as leaders in diabetes treatment, Dr John Nolan (Special Advisor to the President at EASD) and Dr Shaukat Sadikot (President at the International Diabetes Foundation) and finally a patient representative, beautiful and smart, Vanessa Pirolo, T1D (board member ADJ Brazil).

In my opinion, it was very difficult to judge the finalists since they ranged widely across consumer products, coding, and medical devices, across genders, age and experience levels, and I found them to fall into three categories:

1: Investable opportunities for pure VCs

2: Partnering opportunities for healthcare companies

3: Community-platforms for awareness and advocacy

The winners, Amin Zayani of MedAngel – making sure the insulin we inject is functional, Linh Le (represented by Malcolm Nason) of Bonbouton – detecting foot ulcers before they occur, and Jen Horonjeff of Savvy Coop – connecting patients with companies to solve problems, represent the three categories and we applaud them for their inspiring presentations!

As a company focused on improving the quality of life for people with chronic disease, we see all the finalists as partners in our fight, and hope to work closely with them going forward.

In addition to the top three we have to mention the fabulous and gorgeous OneDrop (led by the ultimate diabadass, Jeff Dachis, digital marketing guru), our NYC friends Matt Loper, Wellth – using behavioral economics to improve outcomes, David Weingard, Fit4D – scaling CDEs and driving toward better glucose management, and close by in Connecticut, Charlie O’Connell, FitScript – making exercise safe for everyone with diabetes. More distant, but equally strong in their passion include French entrepreneur, Laurent Nicolas and DiabNext – simple solutions to monitor glucose and dose insulin through your phone, the highly energetic Australian, Josh Wulf, Magicraft – coding for children with diabetes, Canadian Aaron Horowitz and his Jerry the Bear, Sproutel – making a diabetes diagnosis become a super power for children, Fierce Liz Sacco with her inspiring story about developing a clever solution to clean up the blood post-monitoring with DiabeticDabs, and finally Slovenian Luca Zaponcic, CarbEasy and his smart scale to simplify carb-counting.

We cannot wait to see them all take next steps, raise more funds and further their projects toward success in the market place, since that means that patients all over the world will live a little better with their diabetes!

To investors reading this note – please let us know if you want more information about any of these companies – they are in fund-raising mode and we want them to succeed and you to make money while doing good for people with diabetes.

Finally, thank you Novo Nordisk, our fabulous partner who took a chance on us last year, and has shown such spirit and common Mission in our pursuit toward reducing the burden of diabetes everyday.


LBNN Application Deadline is this Friday!

Greetings from the Nordic Life Science Days!

We are looking for the best patient entrepreneurs within diabetes consumer and medical devices, or healthcare information technology. Apply to be one of the ten finalists who will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark and attend the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit and compete for monetary prizes!

Since applications close this Friday, September 15, we reflect upon the concept of patient entrepreneurship.

These people are exceptional individuals and they inspire others to an extent I have never seen before in the chronic disease community. They may not be climbing mountains, or cycling across the country, but instead, they are solving problems that we all encounter when living with a chronic condition.

Instead of waiting for others to help them as a patient, the patient entrepreneur finds solutions to everyday problems that are not always apparent to the mind of a scientist or business person, and they go out and start a business, build a product, and change the future for themselves and others! This can be done by finding a way to register when and how much insulin was dosed, bringing together people with chronic disease through technology and inventive models to change behavior, improving the look and feel of everyday medical devices, or just making certain items we eat or drink healthier and tastier.

This brings to market better products and it inspires all patients to take charge of their health and be less complacent – be less of a victim and more of a problem solver.

At Lyfebulb we ask people to take charge, to live beyond their disease or condition, and to utilize the patient experience when identifying solutions.

In contrast to organizations who monitor and describe patient experiences (all sensor companies and patient platforms), we offer solvers and solutions.

We inspire people to Live Lyfe – that is why our slogan is

“Turn Your Lyfe On”

Where Are They Now? 2016 LBNNAward Finalist: Shantanu Gaur, CSO & Co-Founder of Allurion

We were excited to hear the announcement that Allurion has raised $27M in financing! Allurion’s co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Shantanu Gaur was a finalist in the 2016 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award and is a member of the Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle. We caught up with him to discuss the funding, what this means for the future of Allurion, and his advice for Patient Entrepreneurs who are looking to apply to the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award. Read on!

Bruna Petrillo: For those who are not familiar with your company, tell us a little bit about Allurion.
Shantanu Gaur: Allurion Technologies is dedicated to helping people realize their full potential with innovative, scientifically-validated products. The company’s flagship product, the Elipse Balloon, is a swallowable weight loss device that resides in the stomach, inducing satiety and promoting weight loss. In clinical trials, the Elipse Balloon has led to an average of 33lbs of weight loss over 4 months with no serious adverse events. The Elipse Balloon is the world’s first and only procedure-less gastric balloon: no surgery, endoscopy, or anesthesia is required. The device is available in 10 countries and over 40 leading weight loss centers around the world. Allurion was founded in 2009 by myself and Samuel Levy while we were in our second year at Harvard Medical School. The company is based in Natick, Massachusetts and currently has 35 employees.

BP: You were a participant of the 2016 LBNN Award, what was your biggest takeaway from the Summit?
SG: There is a consumer revolution happening in healthcare systems all around the world. Patients are becoming discerning, empowered consumers and are demanding products that are not only safe and effective but also frictionless and affordable. The Summit highlighted that patients are not just demanding new products: they are taking the initiative to develop and commercialize new products themselves.

BP: Why do Patient Entrepreneurs matter?
SG: The future of healthcare is in the consumer experience. Compelling products are not enough; consumers are depending on compelling experiences. Who best to design the next generation of medical products and experiences than patients themselves?

Who best to design the next generation of medical products and experiences than patients themselves?

BP: Allurion recently announced that it has raised $27M in funding. Can you tell us more about this? What are your future plans for Allurion?
SG: This round of funding was led by our long-time partners at Romulus Capital with participation from IDO Investments, an innovation firm based in Oman and Cogepa Investments, based in France. This funding will be used to expand our commercial presence internationally, scale manufacturing to meet increasing demand, and pursue a clinical trial for U.S. FDA approval. Obesity is a global epidemic, Allurion is a company with a global focus, and we are proud to have assembled a group of investors with a worldwide presence.

This round is more than just a financing milestone. It is a convening of individuals who believe in our vision for the future of weight loss, and in healthcare more broadly. It is the beginning of a new chapter at Allurion composed of growth, scale, and impact. With 2 billion people around the world and two-thirds of the United States either overweight or obese, it represents the start of our journey toward making a dent in the largest unmet medical need in the world and empowering the healthcare consumer of the future

We are not merely participating in this future. We are actively shaping it.

BP: What advice would you give to those applying for the 2017 LBNN Award?
SG: Applying for the LBNN Award offers a time to reflect on how well your business is serving the consumer. No matter what you end up writing in your application ask yourself very transparently, “Am I doing everything I can to serve our patients?”

Where Are They Now? 2016 LBNN Award Finalist: Matt Loper, CEO of Wellth

Matt Loper, CEO of Wellth, is a Patient Entrepreneur and one of ten finalists of the 2016 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award. Read on as he discusses his biggest take-away from the Summit, and his hopes for the future of Wellth.

Bruna Petrillo: For those who are not familiar with your company, tell us a little bit about Wellth.

Matt Loper: We help motivate patients to adhere to their medications and care plans.  About half of the patients with chronic diseases don’t take their medications as prescribed.  There are many reasons why patients don’t take their medications, but the most important is a concept from Behavioral Economics called present bias.  Present bias causes us to be primarily motivated by immediate and tangible benefit, whereas the benefits from taking your pills every day often take years to come to fruition.  We help motivate patients by giving them a little financial incentive every day to take their pills and reinforce the behavior until it becomes a habit that sticks.

BP: You were a participant of the 2016 LBNN Award, what was your biggest take-away from the Summit?

ML: My biggest takeaway was the inspiration of being surrounded by other Patient Entrepreneurs that are so passionate, motivated, and intelligent, devoting their lives to trying to solve big problems in healthcare.   It was a phenomenal group of people and a really great experience.

My biggest takeaway was the inspiration of being surrounded by other Patient Entrepreneurs that are so passionate, motivated, and intelligent…

BP: Why do Patient Entrepreneurs matter?

ML: Patient Entrepreneurs are extremely important since they have lived through the challenges of being a patient or caring for a patient directly.  The way Entrepreneurs create value in the world is by understanding a problem better than anyone else and working tirelessly to fix it.  Patient Entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to have the understanding and passion required for success.

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

ML: We have repeatably produced great results across a diverse set of patient populations ranging from poor and elderly Type 2 Diabetics to post-discharge heart attack patients.  Across five different populations, we are seeing similar results in each and have been able to get 84% of patients to be at least 80% adherent.  Seeing these great results in real world patient populations is very fulfilling.

BP: What are your hopes for the future of Wellth?

ML: We hope to scale up and help as many chronic disease patients as possible achieve longer, happier and healthier lives by helping them with care plan adherence.

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

ML: Clearly, articulate your personal story and how your product solves a big problem.

Patient Entrepreneur Brianna Wolin of Find Your Ditto Selected as the First Recipient of the Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award

Innovation Award Recognizes One Patient Entrepreneur for Her Innovative Idea for Management of Diabetes Using Consumer, Medical Devices, or Healthcare Information Technologies

NEW YORK, Dec. 07, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Patient Entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Find Your Ditto, Brianna Wolin was named recipient of the inaugural Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award for her work in addressing the management of diabetes. Brianna was selected from a grouping of ten finalists after dozens of Award submissions were received from 15 countries. The selection was made by a panel of judges consisting of international representatives of the diabetes patient community.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/cad5bf80-ac92-4973-9ba5-3d147b14a7f3.

“To be recognized by an innovative organization such as Lyfebulb and Novo Nordisk, a global pharmaceutical leader in diabetes care, is a true honor and an affirmation that our work to helping change the landscape surrounding isolation and depression in chronic illness communities is fully worthwhile,” said Brianna Wolin. “I’m so proud to have our mission – creating a world where no person living with a chronic illness ever has to feel alone – is highlighted by this award.”

The Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award spotlights one outstanding patient entrepreneur’s innovative efforts and ideas to better manage chronic disease via consumer products, medical devices, or healthcare information technology.

Brianna Wolin was selected from a distinguished grouping of patient entrepreneur finalists that included:

Shilo Ben-Zeev, Smartzyme, Israel;
Jeff Dachis, OneDrop, USA;
Shantanu Gaur, MD, Allurion, USA;
Matt Loper, Wellth, USA;
Charles O’Connell, FitScript, USA;
Scott Smith, Socrates, USA;
Anna Sjoberg, Anna PS, Sweden;
John Sjolund, Patients Pending Ltd, UK;
David Weingard, Fit4D, USA;
Brianna Wolin, Find Your Ditto, USA.

All finalists attended the Innovation Summit held December 6-7, 2016 hosted by Novo Nordisk in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Summit was designed to provide an opportunity for visibility and recognition in this highly competitive arena as well as professional discussion and inspiration for developing ideas further.

“With the global interest in and success of this first Award and event, we are excited about the future for the Innovation Award to grow and for Lyfebulb and Novo Nordisk to expand and strengthen our relationship,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb. “Clearly, this effort demonstrates that patient entrepreneurs play a key role in helping people living with chronic disease. At Lyfebulb, we will continue to uncover and give voice to patient entrepreneurs who must be a part of the solution to chronic disease.”

Senior Vice President for Novo Nordisk Device R&D Kenneth Strømdahl added, “While patient-centered companies such as Novo Nordisk will continue to play an important role in bringing innovative solutions for people living with diabetes, this competition proves that passionate patient entrepreneurs are making a real difference to advance the management and care of a chronic condition such as diabetes.”

More information on the Innovation Award, the winner, the sponsors and Summit, as well as each of the finalists and selection process, can be found on the Lyfebulb Website.

About Brianna Wolin
Brianna Wolin is a passionate entrepreneur, biomedical engineer and food blogger.
Find Your Ditto, FYD, which began as a student project during her time at the University of Michigan, has earned Brianna several awards at the University as well as recognition by SPARK Ann Arbor, including a fully-funded entrepreneurial bootcamp experience and a commitment to continued guidance. Brianna has lived with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease the majority of her life. Her food blog, A Different Survival Guide, grew out of her need to cook all of her own low carb, gluten free meals unavailable in campus dining halls.
Brianna is the Chief Executive Officer of Find Your Ditto, responsible for engagement with universities and healthcare systems, marketing, legal matters, and company finances.

About Lyfebulb
Lyfebulb is an organization focused on bringing innovative products and solutions focused on chronic disease to market. Lyfebulb serves as a bridge between patients and industry, and its mission is to improve the quality of life of those living with chronic disease NOW.
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: hemophilia, growth disorders and obesity. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 42,300 people in 75 countries and markets its products in more than 180 countries. For more information, visit novonordisk.comFacebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.

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