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Disposable Microfluidic Chip to Detect Antiepileptic Drug Level Wins Shark Tank Prize

The Epilepsy Foundation today announced the 2013 winner of the Epilepsy Therapy Project Second Annual "Shark Tank" competition for the most innovative new product idea for people with epilepsy.

Utkan Demirci, Ph.D. and Steven C. Schachter , MD designed a novel point of care disposable microfluidic chip that can immediately detect the levels of antiepileptic drugs based on a finger-prick sample of blood. The Shark Tank featured live interactive voting by an expert panel of judges and audience members. The winners received a $100,000 grant to accelerate this product to the next phase of development and closer to benefitting patients. The Shark Tank competition took place during the annual Antiepileptic Drug and Device Trials (AED) XII Conference in Miami. The Pipeline Session, which occurs today, will highlight significant advancements in therapeutics and technologies to treat epilepsy.

Judges presiding over this year's Shark Tank represented a breadth of perspectives and personal interests in innovative product development. Six finalists competed on concept, design, originality, cost to market and, most importantly, how their visionary idea would improve the lives of people living with seizures. Judges included actor and Epilepsy Foundation spokesperson Greg Grunberg , leading philanthropists, national experts and epilepsy advocates. An audience of industry and investment executives and medical researchers voted alongside the panel.

"The 2013 Shark Tank award recognizes a pioneering collaboration between Dr. Demirci, an accomplished Harvard and MIT scientist and Dr. Schachter, a leading clinician and researcher in epilepsy with the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) and Harvard. With support from our Epilepsy Therapy Project initiative, we are solving an unmet challenge in epilepsy. This is a true innovation that will allow physicians, individuals with epilepsy and their caregivers to analyze the effects of epilepsy medication on a real time basis," said Philip M. Gattone , President and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. "For the Epilepsy Foundation, this $100,000 award will go a long way in empowering patients to have a more active role with their physicians in managing seizure control and the side effects associated with the medications available today. We are also excited about the role this rapid and intuitive technology will have in accelerating the development of future epilepsy therapeutics for millions of people living with epilepsy around the world."

"We have accomplished two objectives that are core to the Epilepsy Foundation today. To fuel partnerships between scientists, clinicians and industry, and to advance the application of technologies, such as Dr. Demirci's microfluidic platform, that have been scientifically validated in a broad range of settings other than epilepsy," Mr. Gattone added.


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