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Inside the Patient Entrepreneurs Mind: Johnnie Refvik

Entrepreneur Series Questions- Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle Program 2018 + Introduction

What motivated you to create a business addressing a disease you know so well?  

My journey with diabetes started in 2009 when my mother’s last request was for me to get a physical shortly after her last days of battling cancer. I had spent the last few months of her illness driving to upstate New York from Brooklyn as often as possible, fueling up with soda, coffee, and candy. I wasn’t sleeping enough and the effects from stress were obvious. A physical, I reasoned, would probably do me well, even though I expected a clean bill of health.

I had always known diabetes was in my future; I had part of my pancreas removed as a teen from a sporting accident. I just hadn’t expected to get the diagnosis so quickly and so young in my 30s. Nor did I expect that I would be handed a blood glucose testing kit and a two-page “instruction” pamphlet at the hospital and then released. I thought my life was over. I didn’t understand what was happening and why it was happening to me.

Feeling sad, frustrated and unhappy I found myself frequently calling my doctor to learn more about coping with the disease. Throughout the learning process, I did my own research, met with countless diabetics experiencing the same issue and continued trying multiple products at the local pharmacy. None of these items made life any easier! They were too bulky, they didn’t always give accurate readings and I felt all of them were too expensive.

That’s when The SugarCube came to life! 

What are some of the hurdles you perceive exist for people with your disease?

Being Type 1 diabetic I know firsthand the struggles that people go through daily.  The struggle is real, and it’s difficult. Especially at the beginning, right after your diagnosis. The lack of information some Primary Care Doctors give you about your disease is scary.  You are instructed on how to take insulin and monitor your BG and sent on your way.  It’s the lack of knowledge and information that really hurts people.  The information is out there, but once you are told you are diabetic or could be, you kind of go numb.  You need your physician/clinician, to kind of hold your hand in understanding this new way of life especially in changing your dietary needs, activities, and stress level. This is very important to all of us.

Who are some of your role models in your space?  

My role models are the people I meet day to day that struggle and survive the obstacles of dealing with diabetes. My inspiration are the people who are pushing themselves physically and emotionally to show the world diabetes will not stand in their way of progress and their goals.

 

What is your goal beyond creating a successful business?  

Success is measured upon how much you yourself feel confident and proud of. I work daily to achieve a small goal every day, even if it is just taking a light jog during the winter in NY. It seems hard, but it is all about what you allow your mind and body to do. Business is the same, you do something small every day, have a strategy, attach your strategy to your passion and success is endless. I strive for my fellow diabetics to live longer and live happier.  I want to be able to help diabetics truly manage their condition through technology. Having a glucometer, insulin, supplies, a journal, and two big kits isn’t the way to do it anymore.  We need a change, and we plan to help with that.

What does Lyfebulb mean to you? How can we support you better? What are some of the biggest gaps today for a “young” entrepreneur?

To me, Lyfebulb is a group of likeminded individuals who share a common goal.  It’s a place to further develop the unmet needs of the medical space. Lyfebulb is a place that promotes innovation from the ground up.  Having platforms like Lyfebulb allows innovators to innovate. I am a member because inspiration helps drive me forward.

We are in hopes that our partnership with Lyfebulb will open up additional doors in terms of networking and partnerships. We love building on the foundation of our networks.  Looking to navigate the medical and financial niches in NYC alone is like looking for a unicorn.

I think some of the biggest gaps for a young Entrepreneur are networks and getting your voice heard.  Without an advocate supporting you it’s hard to make it beyond the idea phase.

How do you stay healthy and motivated to deliver?

I quickly learned the potential downfalls and complications with not managing my BG daily.   When I was diagnosed, my A1C was over 13.  My eyes and feet were tingly and it scared me.  I quickly changed my diet, started exercising and did ample research on what diabetes actually means. After 6 months I was down to an A1C of 6.2 and have maintained that level to present day.  I’m not going to lie, I am a little OCD with my glucose readings. I actually started to make it a game for myself, to have a better reading than the day before. This is one key component to The SugarCube App, allowing yourself to see yourself be better each day/week/month and get rewarded.  

My motivation comes in a variety of forms.  I have family members and friends with diabetes.  Wanting to provide them a way to live healthier lives has always been on the top of my list.  That drives me to jump head first into development.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?

Having the ability to work with mentors/advisors over the years have added great value not only to our start up, but personally as well.  I think looking at things from others perspective is key. I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors who were willing to take a chance on me and provide opportunities for growth. They have not just taught me what is important both personally and professionally; they have also given me several opportunities to shine. I know that I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if it weren’t for the impact and guidance of my mentors.

How can we draw more attention to user-driven innovation?  

That’s the question of the day. By getting the user to be involved with development. It’s much more effective if the user feels like you are listening to there needs.

How do you maintain work/life balance?

Balance?  What balance?  LOL…  Just kidding. Honestly, I’m a workaholic who must constantly remember that there is a great big beautiful world out there just waiting for me to engage with, so a regimen is in need. My day to day schedule starts with my morning breakfast (I love to cook), reading the news (mostly about the new tech coming out or inspirational stories), begin my work day-plugging away, hit the gym, back home to have dinner with my wife and discuss the craziness that transpired that day. Before bed I practice a light meditation and then prep for my next day. Sticking to a regimen is the best way to balance work and life, also having a solid structure of family and friends keeps you balanced.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?

I am about to have my first child, a little girl, and I wish and pray is she is born healthy and strong and grows up to be a beautiful and magnificent human being. (this maybe a 2 for 1)!

That my mother was still alive, to be here to see my progress with The SugarCube.  I know she would be very proud.   A day doesn’t go by where I don’t miss her.

It breaks my heart to watch children with diabetes, I wish to find a cure for them.

What is your favorite song that gets you motivated?

There are so many. I guess

#1 would be: “Am I wrong” – Nico & Vinz

Even though my wife laughs at me when I play it.  It still moves my soul.   


#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. Check out last week’s featuring Sigurjón Lýðsson. To read more or to apply to join the Entrepreneur Circle click here.

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.

Call to Action for Innovators and Patient Entrepreneurs

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 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.

Interview Series: Amin Zayani, LBNN 2017 Winner

We are excited to share our interview with our Patient Entrepreneur and 2017 Lyfebulb Novo Nordisk Summit winner, Amin Zayani. As a T1D since 2006, a solar energy engineer by training, and hardware expert by trade, Amin is revolutionizing pharmaceutical care through his creation of Med Angel.

Hi Amin! Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Tunisia, and then moved to Germany for studies. I graduated as a solar energy engineer, and then worked in Berlin for several start-ups. I was lucky to work closely with the founding teams, both in engineering and business roles. I was diagnosed with T1D in 2006, but my diagnosis was not a big deal to me, because my brother has had T1D since age three. Since his diagnosis in 1994, our family had a special relation with carb-counting, insulin, and everything that comes with it.

What drove you to start MedAngel?

I woke up one morning in August 2013 with high blood glucose. And despite injecting many corrections from several insulin pens, it wouldn’t go down. I ended up in ER that day (luckily without major complications).

 I went home with a fresh batch of insulin after a couple of hours, but I was frustrated and determined to understand the cause of the problem.

I traced the cause to my malfunctioning refrigerator, which froze my entire stock of insulin overnight, and then defrosted it again. Unfortunately, the damage was irreversible. I was aware of insulin’s vulnerability to heat, but I never suspected it to be at risk when stored as instructed in my refrigerator. I hacked a simple solution using some electronics I had lying around (a microcontroller, a thermometer and a buzzer) and I showed it around at local meet-ups. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, I quickly understood that this is an overlooked problem that affects millions of people and that there was also a market opportunity. I quit my job, invested all my savings and a loan from the bank, and joined Rockstart Digital Health Accelerator in the Netherlands. MedAngel was born as an easy to use, reliable and affordable solution in early 2017. The solution consists of a wireless Bluetooth temperature sensor that is kept with insulin and communicates with an App on the phone. The App supports all types of insulin on the market in the USA and EU (plus a couple of hundred hormones and biologics), and knows the safe ranges for stored or opened meds and alerts you only when there is a real danger.

Why should people buy MedAngel?

Our mission at MedAngel is to eliminate the uncertainty about insulin’s potency. We believe that no one should ever have an insulin pen in their hand and not know if it is still good to use or not. Many of our users have one sensor with their stock in the refrigerator, and one with the insulin they carry on the go. Many of them started using it for their travels, and we noticed that a majority of users place them in cool bags or Frio pouches in summer (to make sure that the protection works well). To summarise I would say that our solution achieves the following:

1. Bringing peace of mind and reducing some the burden of living with diabetes

2. Ensuring optimal therapeutic outcomes of insulin and other drugs

3. Avoiding financial waste by giving early alarms before it is too late, or avoiding discarding medication because of doubt.

How do you feel about winning the LBNN17 award?Our team is honoured and proud to win this award, especially after competing with such high-level start-ups! We worked very hard to do the pitch, and we wanted to stand out with a unique proposition and story. I have not felt happier in my life! For me personally it feels like a well-deserved recognition after 3 years of non-stop hard work. For us as a team, it is proof that we are doing things right, and that we work well together.

What does this award mean for you and your company?

It is a major milestone for our company! It feels like everything we were doing, everything that was on hold is falling in place! Business leads, investments, projects. We were overwhelmed with the number of emails, calls and inquiries that we received in the next few days: all major pharma companies got in touch with us, people sent us their CVs because they want to work with us, VC funds from Europe and the USA. The validation, exposure and visibility that came with winning the award are priceless. Thanks again to your team and to Novo Nordisk for making it happen.

What is next for MedAngel?

Great things! Big and ambitious plans! We need first to close our fundraising round (which I hope we will announce soon), then we will focus on growing the business and scaling up. We plan on reaching more users worldwide, and keep our high user satisfaction.We are also concentrating on working with a select number of pharmaceutical companies to make their digital transformation happen, and together bring a nicer, richer user experience to all people living with chronic conditions.

 

Bravest Episode 020: Karin Hehenberger, Md, Phd on Becoming the Ultimate Patient-Entrepreneur

On the show today we have Dr. Karin Hehenberger. Some of you might know Dr. Hehenberger from her amazing work with her venture LyfeBulb, but for those of you who are not familiar with her, Dr. Hehenberger is a type 1 who is no longer type 1.

Dr. Hehenberger has a list of credentials and professional accomplishments that make her the ultimate multi-hyphenate. She was on the Swedish National Tennis Team, she earned her Medical Doctorate and her PhD in molecular medicine, she was a post-doc fellow at Harvard, a consultant for McKinsey & Company, has worked in big pharma and start-up biotech companies, and the list goes on and on.

What’s remarkable about her story is that she navigated all of those challenging environments, and succeeded on a large scale, with type 1 diabetes. But as the years went on, and she experienced a period of significant burnout and poor control of her health, all the complications anyone with diabetes fears, started to set in. Dr. Hehenberger ultimately found herself with significant damage to her vision, and her kidneys were failing. She was on the edge of complete physical breakdown.

Ultimately, it was her father who saved her live with an incredible gift, and then a few months later it was a donor, and a very talented transplant team in Minnesota who would provide Dr. Hehenberger with a chance to experience life without type 1 again.

Dr. Hehenberger is the ultimate patient-entrepreneur and you’ll learn through this interview that she is all in when it comes to finding and supporting the next generation of budding patient-entrepreneurs through her venture catalyst LyfeBulb. As I release this episode, Dr. Hehenberger and her team are over in Copenhagen Denmark for this year’s LyfeBulb/ Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit where they will be working with some of the best young innovators in the world of diabetes.

There’s a lot to this story and our conversation is a deep look into denial, motivation, personal drive, an individual’s love of science, and a belief that those impacted by a chronic condition should be at the center of creating ventures that will help minimize the impact of that condition on the world.

Source: Bravest

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.

Share2Print
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

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: 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.

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.

Where Are They Now? 2016 LBNN Award Finalist: Anna Sjӧberg, CEO and Founder of AnnaPS

This week we caught up with Patient Entrepreneur and 2016 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award finalist, Anna Sjӧberg! (Check out our interview with Anna where she discusses her company, AnnaPS here!) Anna and I got to talking about the award, and the amazing partnerships she has had since! Read on!


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

Anna Sjӧberg: AnnaPS is a brand that makes clothing with integrated pockets to make it easy to carry all of your diabetes devices. The clothes are made by diabetics for diabetics and have unique functions to carry an insulin pump in the pockets in a safe, discrete and good looking way. The clothes also have specially designed pockets for insulin pen, hand units for Omnipod, CGM (Dexcom), Freestyle Libre, blood sugar meters, etc.

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

AS: The power to meet other diabetes entrepreneurs, learn from the LyfeBulb team, and to get in touch with Novo Nordisk staff and organization.

 

BP: Why do Patient Entrepreneurs matter?

AS: I think we have a driving a force to really make a difference for other patients in the same situation. We can really understand the needs that need to be solved and can test and evaluate in real life.

I think we have a driving force to really make a difference for other patients in the same situation.

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

AS: I think it is our launch on Amazon.com, and our invitation to sell our products on the Lyfebulb Market Place alongside other interesting brand making cool diabetes stuff. And of course I am very proud to have been invited to participate at Fitscript’s Women and Diabetes event in New Haven this year.

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

AS: Go for it! It was like a dream come through. It was one of the best experiences ever, when I got to represent AnnaPS.

Go for it!

Interview Series: Anna Sjӧberg of AnnaPS Scandinavia

One of our favorite brands of diabetes friendly clothing, is AnnaPS. They design clothing from t-shirts, tank tops, and sports bras, to underwear for men, women, and children that have integrated pockets to carry diabetes devices, thus making life a little bit easier for those living with diabetes! Founder and CEO, Anna Sjӧberg, is a T1D and is a part of the Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle. I got a chance to chat with her about how she started AnnaPS Scandinavia. Read our interview below!

Bruna Petrillo: Hi Anna! Tell us a little about yourself.

Anna Sjӧberg: Hi Bruna. I am from Sweden, Scandinavia and I have been living with T1D since 1998. I started my insulin pump therapy in 2009 and immediately realized that my insulin pump really disturbed me. I got hooked in the tubing, I dropped it, I needed to use one hand to hold it during a lot of situations, so on. To solve this problem I began designing underwear with integrated pockets for my diabetes devices. Then I began to design tank tops and swimwear for women.

I have two wonderful kids who do a lot of skiing, scouting and soccer, so my husband Per and I are very involved in lot of activities as parents. We live at the coastline in a small town and I really love the nature. I also love to do a lot of sports, and for me it is important to not feel held back by my diabetes.

BP: What drove you to start AnnaPS?

AS: When I designed this underwear with integrated pockets, it really helped me with my pump. The pump became a part of me, and I never had to think about it or get disturbed by it. It was freedom. The pump and the tubing were secured into the pockets and it was easy to put the pump out or back in the pocket when I need it. It was so nice to make it easy to carry, and I started making all kind of clothes, and even bikinis, that were good looking and had pockets in a discrete way. I love to not have to carry any extra diabetes cases or clips.

I think my driving force has always been to make a difference and find solutions. It is me as Engineer.

This feeling became even stronger when I realized I can help others, and make their lives easier. I think those living with diabetes have so many things to think about every day, so it feels great to help others with diabetes. If I can do anything to support life with diabetes and make it a little bit easier, I will do it. When someone says to me, “this was the first night in years I slept all the night thanks to your clothing,” then everything I am working on is worth it. Messages like that make my heart warm.

BP: That’s wonderful Anna! Where did you get the inspiration for your designs?

AS: Of course we are inspired by our nature here in Scandinavia! I love sustainability and to make clothes with a great design and color that always makes the customer feel comfortable. Long-lasting products also means high quality. I also think clothes should give you energy, and this means the fit is adapted to how our bodies are constructed.  To combine this with functionality is our mission.

The pockets are placed to minimize disturbance by the pump. It also has openings from inside and outside of the garments, and makes you feel safe (the pump has to stay in the pocket even when you take the garment off.) Today we have mainly our basic assortment or product offering, but I hope to have opportunities to design more loose fit clothing in the future.

BP: Why should diabetics buy AnnaPS products?

AS: Because the products really solve a big problem for diabetics: how to carry all of the diabetes supplies you always have to bring! And it really minimizes the risk to leave things behind.

When I started to use my own designs with integrated pockets, I really felt how much it helped me to bring all of my diabetes stuff I needed everywhere I went. I put my phone, my blood sugar meter, and my sugar in the pockets (along with the pump). It was really freedom to always have my things close to me.

My mission is to let all diabetics know how much easier their life with diabetes can be when they have the clothing with integrated pockets for their diabetes devices.

We as diabetics need to bring so many things with us wherever we go, that we sometimes risk forgetting something, or have to bring along an extra diabetes bag.

 

BP: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced with AnnaPS?

AS: The biggest challenge is reaching all of the diabetics around the world, and growing the business so that we can exist as a brand and develop more products. We are still a small company run by my husband and I. It has also been a challenge to develop clothing with so much inbuilt functionalities that is environmental friendly and high quality.

BP: What has been your most proud moment or achievement with Anna PS?

AS: I am sure it was when I was nominated to the LyfeBulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award! I didn’t win the first prize, but to be a part of this team for three days at the Summit in Copenhagen, and to participate in such inspiring workshops within the field of diabetes made us all feel like winners. It was fantastic! I am really impressed with Lyfebulb for setting up this Innovation Summit and Award together with Novo Nordisk.


You can shop AnnaPS Scandinavia products in the Lyfebulb Market Place!

Follow Anna on Instagram: @annaps_scandinavia

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