NORTHBROOK, Ill., October 11, 2016 – Astellas Oncology announced the three winners of the inaugural C3 Prize – a global challenge designed to acknowledge non-medicine innovations to improve the cancer care experience for patients, caregivers and their loved ones – during the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Annual Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark Friday, October 7. The winning ideas were chosen after five finalists pitched their ideas live at Medicine X to a panel of judges that included Robert Herjavec, dynamic entrepreneur, passionate cancer caregiver and star of the Emmy Award-winning television show, Shark Tank.
“As the number of people diagnosed with cancer around the world rises, so does the need for innovative tools and resources that help patients with cancer and those that care for them live better during their journey,” said Mark Reisenauer, senior vice president, Oncology, Astellas, whose experience caring for his late father influenced the development and launch of the C3 Prize. “The C3 Prize was designed to honor bright ideas and potential solutions from the people who are directly aware of the challenges patients and caregivers face on a daily basis.”
The winners are:
・Grand Prize – Diane Jooris of Brussels, Belgium, co-founder of Oncomfort™, a company that develops virtual reality modules designed to help manage anxiety in cancer patients before, during and after treatment.
“When I was taking care of my younger sister Mathilde, I saw how difficult it was for her to manage the stress that built up over the weeks of her breast cancer treatment. Over time, the constant stress led to extreme anxiety and a feeling of helplessness that led her to question whether the treatment process was worth it,” Jooris said. “Oncomfort leverages virtual reality technology to help train patients in stress management techniques, give them easy-to-understand information, and help them feel more in control, calm and comfortable.”
・First Prize – Mark Harrison of Melbourne, Australia, chief executive officer of Australian Prostate Cancer Research, whose interactive online system, PROSTMATE™, provides community clinical connections for patients with prostate cancer across rural areas.
“Many men with prostate cancer in Australia face difficulties accessing appropriate, qualified and timely clinical intervention and support, particularly those who live in rural, regional and remote areas of Australia,” said Harrison. “We are trying to solve this need in the community through a companion-based program designed to provide a tailored experience that is open to anyone affected by prostate cancer irrespective of their location.”
・First Prize – Larry Pederson of Seattle, Washington, founder and director of The Litebook® Company, which has developed a light therapy device for use as a tool to reduce fatigue and potentially increase quality of life for cancer patients undergoing treatment.
“Cancer patients undergoing treatment frequently experience profound fatigue and feelings of depression as a side effect of their treatment regimen,” said Pederson. “This fatigue can be unrelenting, overwhelming, and permeate every aspect of daily life. My hope is that the portable Litebook can provide fatigue reduction conveniently and quickly to these patients.”
“Based on my personal experience, I can say all of these ideas address needs for patients living with cancer and their loved ones,” said Herjavec, whose experience as a caregiver for his mother, who died of ovarian cancer in 2007, led him to partner with Astellas Oncology for the C3 Prize. “I also know, from professional experience, the power and impact technology can make on improving lives.”
More than 100 patients, caregivers, health care providers and technology entrepreneurs from around the world submitted ideas to the C3 Prize. The winning submissions were assessed based on plausibility, creativity and originality, and ability to operationalize/implement the innovative idea for future application.
The Grand Prize winner was awarded a $50,000 grant, and two First Prize winners were each awarded $25,000 grants. All three winners also receive membership to MATTER, a community of entrepreneurs, innovators and industry leaders working together to improve health and health care.
For more information, visit www.C3Prize.com.
MATTER is a community of entrepreneurs, innovators and industry leaders working together to harness technology to improve health and healthcare. MATTER connects and promotes collaboration between entrepreneurs, scientists, physicians, investors and industry leaders in order to bring next-generation products and services to market that improve quality of care and save lives. For more information, visit www.matterchicago.com.