Wireless pill bottle takes innovation prize

Wireless pill bottle takes top innovation prize

A pill bottle that wirelessly transmits data, measures medication and sends patient reminders earned the $50,000 top prize in the Healthcare Innovation World Cup, an international challenge competition held May 10. The event was funded by German pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim and organized by HITLAB, a New York-based public health research organization. The award was announced May 16.

A team from New York-based AdhereTech developed the winning concept and will receive the prize money. The competition, focused on innovation in diabetes care, judged entries based on impact, innovation, feasibility and financial sustainability, as well as engaging with community members via social media.

According to AdhereTech, its device can measure the exact number of pills in the bottle in real time, wirelessly send that HIPAA-compliant data into the cloud, and remind patients to take their medication via automated phone call or text message. This summer, AdhereTech will begin a trial with The Walter Reed Army Medical Center to test its full-service solution for type 2 diabetes patients. According to Josh Stein, CEO of AdhereTech, the company has both issued patents and patents pending for the devices.

"We are impressed with AdhereTech's prototype and the feasibility of their business model, and believe the solution has merit in supporting medication adherence," said Klaus Wilgenbus, senior vice president of business development and licensing strategy at Boehringer Ingelheim and Healthcare Innovation World Cup judge, in a prepared statement. "All of the finalists demonstrated outstanding quality and ingenuity in developing their solutions. It is evident that they are committed to creating innovations with the potential to make a real difference in the lives of people with diabetes and their families."

IITKgp, which is developing a non-invasive blood glucose measurement device, based on photoacoustic spectroscopy, took the second-place award of $10,000. The company said initial measurements performed on tissue have provided an accuracy of nearly 70 percent compared to reference measurements. The team, based on the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, is working to improve accuracy and developing a portable prototype device for wide-scale use and commercialization.

Smartsense, based at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, took one of two third-place awards of $5,000 for its multianalyte sensing device for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). The device is being developed to sense all the metabolites necessary for management of the condition with a single prick. According to team members, it is designed to reduce the pain and economic burden faced by patients with DKA.

EndoGoal, based in Columbus, Ohio, shared third place in recognition of its mobile and web-based rewards program for people with insulin-dependent diabetes who track daily glucoses. Rewards include weekly prepaid debit cards and a virtual pet, and are based on a social business model. Revenue comes from users' family-and-friend "sponsors," according to the company.

"Considering the caliber of these finalists – as well as many other participants in this competition – the future of diabetes innovation is exceptionally bright. We anticipate big achievements for all four finalists, and are excited to follow their trajectories in the healthcare industry," said Cole Manship, director of the Healthcare Innovation World Cup and manager of new programs and initiatives at HITLAB, in a prepared statement. "We hope this competition serves as a solid platform for their ongoing success."

Overall, more than 100 teams representing 20 countries around the globe submitted diabetes innovations for the competition.

Photo courtesy of AdhereTech.