Chicago-based metaMe Health announced that the company’s lead product Regulora®, a fully digital behavioral intervention for the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), was one of three finalists, and the only representative from the United States, selected in the Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge (Sandoz HACk), a global competition sponsored by Sandoz, a Novartis division headquartered outside Munich, Germany.
In October 2018, Sandoz HACk invited entrepreneurs and innovators in the field of digital technology to submit ideas with the potential to complement – or even positively disrupt – established approaches to driving access to healthcare. The competition generated ideas from more than 400 entrants in 80 countries, and three finalists were selected during a process that included voting by Sandoz employees and judging by regional and global Sandoz representatives. In addition to metaMe, the remaining two finalists were from the countries of Uganda and the Netherlands.
“Despite all the advances in modern medicine, universal access to healthcare is still arguably the largest unmet medical need,” said Richard Francis, Division Head and CEO of Sandoz. “We believe a major step towards improving healthcare access globally is to identify and understand the specific needs of local communities. That’s what Sandoz HACk is all about.”
Announcing the shortlisted entrants, Francis said: “We have been impressed both by the number of entries received, from developing and developed countries, and by the innovative and ambitious use of digital technology these ideas encompass. We look forward to collaborating with the three finalists to incubate and enhance their ideas before final judging.”
In March, the three finalist teams will travel to Austin, Texas to participate in a four-day “accelerator event,” where they will work with Sandoz and industry experts to develop their ideas into practical, scalable solutions. The event takes place parallel to South by Southwest (SXSW), a leading global conference bringing together creative professionals to discover, learn and network across industries.
At the end of the accelerator event, finalists will pitch their ideas to a judging panel. One winner will be announced at Startup of the Year’s annual Startup Night, at SXSW on March 10. The winner will receive seed funding, as well as ongoing support from Sandoz to help realize the full potential of their idea.
metaMe Health was created to help the more than 30 million Americans, or about 10% of the US population, obtain much-needed relief from IBS. Regulora is the first digital implementation of a behaviorally-focused treatment that addresses the cognitive, behavioral and affective drivers of IBS. Regulora is based on an IP-protected fully standardized intervention.
“Gaining global recognition as a finalist in the Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge is a major milestone for metaMe and provides a significant boost in our efforts to bring Regulora to market,” said Tim Rudolphi, chief executive officer, metaMe Health.
For more information on Sandoz HACk, visit www.sandoz.com/sandoz-hack