Three winners of 2019 Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge (HACk) are announced at SXSW
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Sandoz commits to increasing support from one winner to three, following impressive pitches from the finalists
Austin, Texas, March 10, 2019 - Sandoz, a Novartis division, today announced the winners of the 2019 Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge (HACk).
Sandoz HACk invites entrepreneurs and innovators in the field of digital technology to submit ideas with the potential to complement - or even positively disrupt - established approaches to driving access to healthcare.
The three winners, chosen from over 400 ideas across 80 countries, who will now receive EUR 20,000 each in funding to bring their ideas to life as well as ongoing support from Sandoz experts, are:
US-based ReguloraTM, led by Tim Rudolphi, which offers a prescription-only digital therapeutic for patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), based on Gut Directed Hypnotherapy -- a method of treatment that has been increasingly used in recent years
Netherlands-based SocialGenomics, led by Susanne Baars, which is developing a smart social network with a matchmaker tool to connect patients across the world who suffer from rare and undiagnosed diseases
Ugandan-based Mobile Clinic, led by Andrew Dbembe, which seeks to use an app and a mobile van clinic to provide door-to-door maternal healthcare services in Uganda. The idea will enable patients to make emergency appointments via a toll-free number, which will be directly linked to the mobile van clinic
"Sandoz sees the future of healthcare as being driven by two closely related factors: the digital revolution and the need for strong collaboration between healthcare companies and external partners," said Carol Lynch, President Sandoz Inc, speaking at the 'Startup of the Year' event at the South by Southwest (SXSW) congress in Austin, Texas. "Today saw three teams pitch innovative ideas to tackle a diverse range of healthcare access issues. As judges, we felt passionate about all three ideas and the people behind them, and so we are excited to offer support and seed funding to all teams."
Andre Heeg, global Head of Digital at Sandoz, also speaking from Austin, added: "We believe Sandoz HACk is a key step towards realizing this vision, and we look forward greatly to working with all three winners to help bring their ideas to fruition. And there is no better place to celebrate the winner than SXSW: the global meeting point for innovative digital thinkers."
Since arriving in Austin, Texas the three finalist teams (see below for details) attended a four-day "accelerator" event in parallel to SXSW. Working with Sandoz and industry experts, they discussed and re-assessed their ideas, with a view to creating practical, scalable solutions that can have a significant impact on people's lives. Finalists also attended SXSW sessions and networked with other participants and speakers to further stimulate development of their ideas.
All three finalists pitched their idea in person to a panel of judges, consisting of Sandoz and industry experts. The judging panel was led by Carol Lynch, President of Sandoz US and Head of Sandoz North America, and included Steffen Kurzawa, Global Head of Communications, Sandoz, John Frémont, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Hypergiant; Rich Maloy, Director at Established and Venture Partner at SpringTime Ventures; Jennifer Skjellum, Director of Programs at The Company Lab; and John W. Dankanich, Chief Technologist at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Judges assessed finalists based on criteria including the anticipated impact of their idea and the effective use of digital technologies.
About the Sandoz HACk winners
ReguloraTM (Tim Rudolphi, US) - Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic and painful condition affecting approximately 10% of people worldwide. Recent clinical trials have shown that psychologically-focused treatments are an effective way to treat IBS, with over 50% of people enjoying significant relief from symptoms. ReguloraTM is in development as a prescription-only digital therapeutic based on Gut Directed Hypnotherapy. The mobile app connects patients with automated digital therapy sessions from the comfort of their own home, as well as offering daily practice routines and reports that track progress.
Social Genomics (Susanne Baars, Netherlands) - Approximately one in 15 people worldwide are affected by rare diseases, with many untreated and unstudied. Social Genomics is building an AI-based smart social network, enabling people with rare and undiagnosed diseases to connect and share stories, providing access to global real-world patient data insights about treatment options and scientific research. By using advanced matchmaking algorithms based on genomic patient data, Social Genomics aims to link the right questions to the right people and to data sources that are available in the field of genomics.