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CHICAGO, Aug. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Three Lakes Partners, a venture philanthropy committed to ending Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), announced today the official launch of its $1,000,000 IPF Catalyst Challenge. The first-of-its-kind healthcare competition is now accepting submissions, and will award a total purse of $1,000,000 for the development of up to three big ideas that improve the quality of life for IPF patients and their caregivers.
The Challenge is one of the largest healthcare competitions in the United States, and the first time a cash and incentive purse of this magnitude has been put in place to help people with IPF. Three Lakes Partners collaborated with MATTER, the healthcare technology incubator and innovation hub; IDEO an award-winning global design and innovation consultancy; and Common Pool, renowned for creating competitions to solve the world's most challenging problems to establish the competition.
"IPF kills about the same number of people each year as breast cancer, yet it remains an unknown disease that receives very little attention," said Ken Bahk, PhD, managing director, Three Lakes Partners. "We've taken a stand and created the IPF Catalyst Challenge so brilliant minds everywhere can come together to help improve the lives of IPF patients and their caregivers, and help eradicate this disease that has claimed countless lives."
What is IPF?
IPF is an irreversible, unpredictable, and incurable interstitial lung disease. Without any known cause, it starts with scarring – or stiffening – of the lung tissue that prohibits the lungs from properly moving oxygen into the bloodstream, resulting in labored inhalation that is often likened to the sensation of breathing through a coffee stirrer.
The chronic illness is difficult to diagnose, and takes an average of 26 months from the first appearance of symptoms to confirm that a patient has IPF. The disease progresses differently in every patient but ultimately never improves, and is typically fatal within three to five years of diagnosis. Approximately 132,000 people in the US are living with IPF, and roughly 40,000 die from the disease annually.
In addition to suffering from an impaired quality of life, IPF patients and their families are burdened with archaic oxygen management issues that force many to remain homebound; a lack of consistent education materials; and no real comprehensive care management tools.
What is the IPF Catalyst Challenge?
The IPF Catalyst Challenge is looking to change these quality-of-life issues, and is seeking global innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers, and designers who are passionate about problem solving to develop real, executable solutions in categories that include: Early Diagnosis & Detection; Patient Education & Engagement; Oxygen Improvement; and Improving the Care Continuum. The competition also allows for submissions that may not fall into the aforementioned categories, but applicants believe could positively impact the quality of life for patients and caregivers.
"We know we can create solutions for those suffering from IPF by engaging the world's best and brightest minds, and encourage anyone who thinks they can make a difference to join us in the fight against this terrible disease," said Bahk.
The IPF Catalyst Challenge is open to nonprofit agencies and for-profit ventures, and is designed to invite a broad range of big ideas to the table. Registrations will be accepted at the Challenge's website now through Wednesday, October 25 at 5:00 p.m. CT, and participant applications are due no later than Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. CT. Finalists will be announced in early December and will have the opportunity to pitch their solutions to a Selection Committee during a live event in January 2018. An official set of Competition rules can be found here.
To learn more about the $1,000,000 IPF Catalyst Challenge and to register for the competition, please visit https://challenge.ipfcatalyst.com and follow @IPFCatalyst on Twitter or #IPFChallenge and IPF Catalyst on Facebook.
About Three Lakes PartnersThree Lakes Partners, LLC is a venture philanthropy whose mission is to accelerate the development of promising technologies for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). Three Lakes Partners provides not only financial support, but also operational leverage via partnership with a greater network of IPF resources worldwide. Visit www.threelakespartners.org for more information.
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