LANDOVER, MD, June 11, 2014 – The Epilepsy Foundation today announced three winners of the 2014 Shark Tank competition for the most innovative ideas in epilepsy and seizure treatment and care. The winners will use their prizes to advance their products to the next phase of development. The Shark Tank judges selected two of the awardees, and a third “People’s Choice” winner was selected by a live audience:
- Oren Knopfmacher, PhD, received $75,000 for an in-home, non-invasive device that monitors anti-seizure drug levels in saliva developed by Avails Medical, Inc.
- Jon Davis won $50,000 for Shower Power, a safety monitoring system that is designed to track when seizure events occur during a shower.
- The 2014 People’s Choice award for $75,000 was given to 13-year-old Amir Helmy and his father Ahmed Helmy for Seizario, a smartphone app that detects and alerts loved ones when the owner of the phone is having a seizure. Stemming from a school science fair project, Amir hopes this will help patients get the medical care they need.
“This year’s Shark Tank tells us how deeply motivated people are to advance safety monitoring and the treatment of epilepsy. Our finalists presented with great conviction and passion,” said Dr. Jacqueline French of the Epilepsy Study Consortium, co-chair of the Pipeline Conference and creator and 2014 moderator of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Shark Tank. "The three winners were selected for ideas with the promise of significantly improving the lives of people with epilepsy," she said.
In its third year, the Shark Tank competition has grown with more applicants submitting inventive products, and has become the highlight of the 2014 Epilepsy Pipeline Conference. The judges and audience evaluated key success factors, such as concept, design, cost to market, and how the finalist’s visionary idea would improve the lives of people living with epilepsy and seizures. This year’s finalists also included Nirav Sheth with the MC10 “Biostamp” Wearable Sensor, a wireless seizure sensing device worn on the body; Sandra L. Helmers, MD, with WebEase – Y, an online program to enhance youth epilepsy management behaviors; and Michel Lundell with Ketonix, a breath ketone analyzer for people on the ketogenic diet. Learn more about all six finalists and the three winning projects at www.epilepsy.com/shark-tank-2014.
“The Shark Tank Competition represents a significant component of the Epilepsy Foundation’s mission – to incentivize inventors and entrepreneurs to pursue products, therapeutics or technologies with the promise of improving treatment and quality of life for people living with epilepsy,” said Philip M. Gattone, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. “Supporting and promoting partnerships between inventors, researchers, and industry makes it possible to bring new approaches for treating and managing epilepsy in a timeframe that matters. We are proud to say that a previous winner of our Shark Tank Award has a product now making a difference in the lives of people living with seizures.”
Judges presiding over this year’s Shark Tank represented a breadth of perspectives including industry, investors, advocacy, and the research and medical communities. Jim Abrahams, the director of films including “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun” served as one of our Sharks. Abrahams is the founder and executive director of The Charlie Foundation. Other sharks included Ari Mackler, PhD, MBA from POM Wonderful; former Epilepsy Foundation board chair Martha Morrell, MD; former Epilepsy Foundation Youth Council leader Andrew Smith; and Elson So, MD, who is president of the American Epilepsy Society. To learn more about our judges, please visit www.epilepsy.com/shark-tank-judges-2014.