LANDOVER, MD – The Epilepsy Foundation announced the winners of the 2015 Shark Tank Competition for innovative ideas in epilepsy and seizure treatment and care. The winners will use their award money to accelerate their ideas toward development and commercialization to bring their projects to help people living with epilepsy.
“The Epilepsy Foundation is dedicated to developing and accelerating new therapies in a timeframe that matters for individuals and families affected by seizures,” said Warren Lammert, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “The Shark Tank Competition plays an integral role in that development, and we are proud to encourage partnerships and support and promote the important projects among researchers, inventors, and industry to help bring these new technologies and products to commercialization.”
The Shark Tank judges selected two awardees, one of which also won the live audience’s People’s Choice Award. The winners of prizes totaling $200,000 are:
- Mark Cook, MD, Professor, St. Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, The University of Melbourne, Department of Neurosciences: Sub-scalp Seizure Monitor for Epilepsy Management, which won $125,000, $50,000 from a Judges Award and $75,000 from a People's Choice Award
- Matteo Lai, Co-founder and CEO, Empatica, Inc., and Rosalind Picard, Sc.D., Co-founder and CSO, Empatica, Inc.: Embrace: Learn How Stress and Sleep Impact Your Seizures, which won a $75,000 Judges Choice Award
“Winning the Shark Tank Competition makes all the difference to our team,” said Cook, the first international winner of the Competition. “We can now take our research to the next level and start studies in people early next year. We can't thank the Foundation enough.”
Picard and Lai said, "We are extremely honored and humbled to have received this award from the Epilepsy Foundation, a distinguished group of scientists, physicians, families, and colleagues. Our goal is to help improve the lifestyles of those 65 million people affected by epilepsy by decreasing seizure frequency and SUDEP cases. With the Foundation's support we are one step closer to accomplishing this goal and bringing the Embrace to market even faster."
The six finalists, selected from an international entry pool, presented their product concepts on the second day of the 2015 Antiepileptic Drug and Device Trials XIII (AED) conference, May 14, at the Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura, Fla. The judges and audience evaluated key success factors, such as concept, design, cost, and time to market.
Shark Tank finalists competing this year:
- Hilda A. Cerdeira, PhD, Fellow of the American Physical Society, Instituto de Fisica Teorica, UNESP: Anticipated Detection of Epileptic Seizures
- Danielle Duce, President, Otoko Enterprises Inc.: The Safety Place Mat
- Jana E. Jones, PhD, Assistant Professor, Matthews Neuropsychology Lab, Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health: Psychosocial Problems in Kids with Epilepsy (PIKE): A Screening Initiative
- Mark Lehmkuhle, PhD, CEO/CTO, Epitel, Inc.: QuiVive | Non-Invasive, Wireless EEG Seizure Alerting
Each of the above four finalists won a prize of $5,000.
“2015’s Shark Tank Competition finalists show just how deeply inventors and entrepreneurs care about advancing epilepsy and seizure treatment and care,” said Jacqueline French, MD, Chief Scientific Officer of the Epilepsy Foundation, Director of the Epilepsy Study Consortium, and creator and moderator of the Shark Tank event. “The Sub-scalp Seizure Monitor and Embrace Watch were selected as the winning ideas with the greatest promise of significantly improving the lives of people living with seizures.”
Judges presiding over 2015’s Shark Tank Competition represented a breadth of perspectives including industry, investors, advocacy, and the research and medical communities. Dr. French was the competition moderator. Other Sharks included Thomas Baruch, Partner, Formation | 8 Partners; Gregory K. Bergey, MD, Professor of Neurology, Director, Johns Hopkins Epilepsy Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Daniel Fischer, Founder, Parent Powered Innovation, Co-founder, Intellimedix; Cynthia L. Harden, MD, Neurologist practicing in New York; and Lynn Kramer, MD, Chief Clinical Officer, Eisai Company, Ltd., President, Neuroscience and General Medicine PCU, Eisai Product Creation Systems.
The Shark Tank competition receives entries from countries around the world and continues to grow in popularity and interest each year. The program is a catalyst for entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and the broader community to develop inventive product concepts and technologies with the promise of improving treatment and/or quality of life for the more than 65 million people worldwide living with epilepsy and seizure conditions. The next live competition will be held in March 2016, in San Francisco. Competition dates and details will be announced in coming weeks.
Vice President, Epilepsy Therapy Project
Manager of Program Communications and Media Relations
When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy. Epilepsy affects nearly 3 million people in the U.S. and 65 million worldwide. This year, another 150,000 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy.
About the Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with nearly 50 affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against seizures since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to stop seizures and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), find a cure, and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy, and research to accelerate ideas into therapies. The Foundation works to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential.