Do you have a technology idea that could help people with MS?

Monday, 23 December, 2019

Pharmaceutical company Novartis is offering a US$250,000 prize to fund development of pioneering innovation with great potential in advancing assistive tech for multiple sclerosis (MS).

MS is a chronic disorder of the central nervous system that affects around 2.3 million people worldwide and an estimated 25,600 Australians. 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). MS disrupts the normal functioning of the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord through inflammation and tissue loss.

SPMS follows an initial form of RRMS, which accounts for approximately 85% of all MS diagnoses, and is characterised by gradual worsening of neurological function over time. 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).

The Novartis Innovation Prize: Assistive Tech for MS seeks to identify and embrace technology that aims to improve the mobility, accessibility and activities of daily life for individuals living with MS, and other people living with mobility-limiting conditions. Launched in partnership with WIRED Brand Lab, alongside other collaborators such as 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.

“Every day, patients with multiple sclerosis 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 at 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.”

Applications are open worldwide to the tech community, innovators, design experts, patient advocates and anyone with an idea to make everyday life better for those with MS or mobility-limiting disabilities. To develop their innovation, the first-place winner will receive a prize worth US$250,000 and the second-place winner will receive US$50,000.

Applications will be accepted until 10 January 2020 at 5 pm ET and the winners will be announced at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, on 13 March 2020. For more information and to apply, visit

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