A wealthy do-gooder is championing Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). No, it’s not Tony Stark (a.k.a. Ironman).
But there is a mega-force super power uniting global innovators, researchers, and healthcare entrepreneurs to brainstorm solutions for people with IPF and their caregivers and families.
In April of last year, Three Lakes Partners, a venture philanthropy organization with the mission to expedite the development of new IPF technologies, announced the IPF Catalyst Challenge. Scientists, researchers, technology developers, designers, engineers, and industry innovators around the globe were invited to develop new ideas for oxygen therapy, as well as apps, tools, patient education opportunities, devices, and diagnostics to help find a cure for IPF.
For those who succeed, the reward is sweet: $1 million to be exact!
“IPF kills approximately the same number of people annually as breast cancer, yet it remains an unknown disease that receives very little attention,” says Ken Bahk PhD, managing director, Three Lakes Partners.
The philanthropic challenge hoped to elevate awareness of the disease while opening the door for new ideas to help those suffering with IPF.
Crowd-sourcing out-of-the-box solutions may be just what IPF needs to discover a cure. Currently, more than 132,000 Americans suffer from this disease, which causes permanent scarring in the lungs and can lead to death. 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Without a cure, approximately 40,000 people a year die from IPF.
“Our mission is on behalf of patients and caregivers: to increase visibility of this disease and to attack IPF from all sides—diagnosis, treatment, and patient quality of life—all by engaging the most innovative, aggressive, and experienced partners in our collective fight,” Bahk says. “We are excited and grateful to work with our world class collaborators MATTER, IDEO, and Common Pool in this first step, the IPF Catalyst Challenge.”