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Novartis launches Innovation Prize to encourage new technologies to address unmet mobility needs of the multiple sclerosis community

  • The Novartis Innovation Prize: Assistive Tech for Multiple Scelrosis (MS) identifies and embraces technology that aims to improve mobility and daily function for people living with MS.

  • To develop their innovation, the first-place winner will receive a prize worth $250,000 USD and the second-place winner will receive $50,000 USD*


  • Applications are open worldwide to the tech community, innovators, design experts, patient advocates – anyone with an idea to make everyday life better for those with MS or mobility-limiting disabilities.


“Every day, patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) face difficult and unique mobility challenges that can make regular activities such as walking, speaking, and living out comfortable lives extremely difficult,” said John Tsai, Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis. “Novartis is deeply invested in this community, and it is our hope that through this Innovation Prize, we can help reimagine care for people living with MS by encouraging new technologies addressing some of the challenges faced by those living with MS and their loved ones.”

Launched in partnership with WIRED Brand Lab, alongside other collaborators such as Shift.ms and Techstars, the Prize invites innovators from a wide variety of disciplines to showcase pioneering ideas, while sparking a broader conversation about the future of accessibility technology.

“Novartis are committed to reimagining the everyday lives of people affected by MS,” said Richard Tew, General Manager of Novartis Pharamceuticals Australia and New Zealand. “We are excited to see how the Novartis Innovation Prize will spark new ideas and conversations across Australia to help address the challenges faced by the MS community and others living with mobility-limiting conditions.”

The applications will be accepted until January 11, 2020 at 09:00 AEDT (January 10, 2020 at 17.00 ET) and the winners will be announced at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2020.

About the Innovation Prize

The Novartis Innovation Prize: Assistive Tech for MS identifies and embraces technology that aims to improve the mobility, accessibility, and activities of daily life for these individuals and others living with mobility-limiting conditions. The Prize aims to spur investment and dialogue across the many needs of people living with MS, and other people living with mobility-limiting conditions. More information, including application requirements, judging criteria, and terms and conditions can be found on the application site, www.wired.com/msinnovationprize.

About Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a chronic disorder of the central nervous system that affects around 2.3 million people worldwide
i and an estimated 25,600 Australiansii. There are three main forms of MS: relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), the most common form of the condition at diagnosis; secondary progressive MS (SPMS); and primary progressive MS (PPMS)iii. MS disrupts the normal functioning of the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord through inflammation and tissue lossiv.

SPMS follows an initial form of RRMS, which accounts for approximately 85% of all MS diagnoses, and is characterized by gradual worsening of neurological function over timev. This leads to a progressive accumulation of neurological disability. There remains a high unmet need for safe and effective treatments to help delay disability progression in SPMS with active disease (with relapses and/or evidence of new MRI activity)vi.

About Novartis

Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. We believe continued R&D is essential to innovation and in Australia last year we invested 9.4M in clinical trials. Novartis products reach nearly 1 billion people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 125,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Novartis has more than 60 years’ history in Australia and employ around 600 people across its two divisions. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.au.

*Subject to the terms and conditions found on www.wired.com/msinnovationprize

i Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. Atlas of MS 2013. http://www.msif.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Atlas-of-MS.pdf. Accessed April 2019

ii MS Australia. Key facts and figures about multiple sclerosis. Available at: https://www.msaustralia.org.au/file/1276/download?token=1KgyRQBY (link is external). Accessed April 2019.

iii MS Society. Types of MS. https://www.mssociety.org.uk/what-is-ms/types-of-ms. Accessed March 2019.

iv PubMed Health. Multiple Sclerosis (MS). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001747/. Accessed April 2019

v Kappos L et al. Siponimod versus placebo in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (EXPAND): a double-blind, randomized, phase 3 study. Lancet. 2018:391(10127):1263-1273.

vi National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS). https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Types-of-MS/Secondary-progressive-MS. Accessed April 2019.

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