The Epilepsy Foundation and Poliwogg: Celebrating a New Partnership to Accelerate Therapies
An Interview with Warren Lammert, Chair of the Epilepsy Foundation
|Warren Lammert, chair of the Epilepsy Foundation|
|Learn more about the Epilepsy Foundation's Partnership with Poliwogg|
Why did the Epilepsy Foundation make an agreement with Poliwogg?
Accelerating new therapies is a key element of our mission at the Epilepsy Foundation and the focus of our Epilepsy Therapy Project initiative. We already provide grants and make a variety of investments (conferences, scientific and business counsel, and matchmaking) to help companies move promising treatments through development to reach patients. Our Epilepsy Foundation CEO Phil Gattone and I both feel Poliwogg is a natural follow-on to support young companies whose projects we have already endorsed and supported thought our New Therapy Grants, Shark Tank Awards, Epilepsy Innovation Seal of Excellence and other funding mechanisms.
What does success look like under this partnership?
Success means we are able to work together with Poliwogg to introduce young companies with promising, innovative therapies to our community and are able to help them raise the $1 to $3 million dollars necessary to take a good research idea and move it onto a commercial path to a stage of maturity where they can raise still more significant institutional capital.
Logistically, how will this partnership work? How will the Foundation’s members get access to investment opportunities?
We expect to use our newsletters, websites and social media presence to alert our millions of Epilepsy Foundation and Epilepsy Therapy Project supporters and followers to opportunities to participate in funding these promising companies and new therapies.
What do you hope this does to the pipeline of epilepsy breakthroughs available in the market?
The Epilepsy Foundation has provided some funding to about half of the 100 odd new drugs, devices and diagnostics under development (www.epilepsy.com/etp/pipeline_new_therapies). We have had four projects for which we played a key role reach patients in the last two years. But basically one third of those with epilepsy have no therapy that will control their seizures and the side-effects of existing therapies are significant, really unacceptable, for many patients. We absolutely hope and intend to help bring more innovation, more effective new therapies forward to people living with seizures and epilepsy.
Why was this partnership a good option for the Foundation? What set it apart from other partnership opportunities?
We are impressed with the leadership at Poliwogg. I have known CEO Greg Simon for a number of years and admired his work as the first President of Faster Cures. We believe Poliwogg is a strong platform and concept with a strong and creative team of founders.
What other opportunities have you/will you pursue that allows the Foundation and its donors to invest privately in companies?
We currently provide grants and make investments through our New Therapy Grant mechanism and other awards. We expect also to support smaller fundraising efforts through other crowdfunding platforms such as IndieGogo. And we are working to raise an Epilepsy Innovation Fund at the Foundation that would invest alongside our community and others in epilepsy start-ups on the Poliwogg platform.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am the father of an extraordinary and special 16 year old girl, Sylvie, who lives with daily waves of seizures. We are a foundation led by families and individuals affected by epilepsy along with dedicated doctors, caregivers and professionals. We serve millions of families living with seizures as well as those who have lost children and loved ones to seizures.
We are determined to support innovative therapies in a time frame that matters to stop seizures and seizure induced mortality and to bring better lives to people and families living with seizures and epilepsy.