Lyfebulb and Helsinn Announce the Winners of the Third Annual Lyfebulb-Helsinn Cancer Innovation Summit & Award

31 January 2020


MONACO, PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO, AND NEW YORK, NY, USA, January 31, 2020: Lyfebulb, a patient empowerment platform that connects patients with industry to support user-driven innovation toward solutions in chronic disease, and Helsinn, a Swiss pharmaceutical group focused on building quality cancer care, announce that Russell LaMontagne of Boston Immune Technologies and Therapeutics was chosen as the winner of the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Award, and Cesare Spadoni, PhD, of Oncoheroes Biosciences was chosen as the winner of the Squinto-LePera Award by Lyfebulb. In addition, the jury decided to award Michael Stein, PhD, of Valo Therapeutics a third grant. The Awards recognize outstanding Patient Entrepreneurs building groundbreaking companies to advance the prevention, diagnosis, management or care of cancer.

Boston Immune Technologies and Therapies is developing immune-based therapies for cancer to help patients by making treatments more efficacious, cost effective and time efficient. Oncoheroes Biosciences exclusively focuses on the discovery and development of better drugs to help children and adolescents with cancer. Valo Therapeutics is developing novel, patented therapeutic immunotherapy platforms to help cancer patients by uniquely addressing all four objectives key to successful cancer therapy.

Eleven finalists, all of whom represent companies founded by cancer patients, cancer survivors or those with loved ones affected by cancer, were invited to compete at the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Cancer Innovation Summit on January 30, 2020, at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco during the 14th Monaco Biennale of Oncology. The Summit kicked off with a presentation by Dr. Giulio Draetta, Chief Scientific Officer of MD Anderson, that highlighted the new direction his organization is taking to drive innovation in cancer research.  An independent panel of judges, which included diverse experts in the cancer, healthcare and business communities, listened to the pitches and selected Russell and Cesare as the winners of the two $25,000 monetary grants, and added Michael with a $5,000 grant, to further develop their potential solutions.

“The outstanding diversity and innovations of the 11 finalists attest to the growing reputation of the Challenge that we are running together with Helsinn for a third year in a row.  Additionally, this year, during the Summit, we included an inspirational, moving presentation by a two-time cancer survivor, Kimberly Irvine. We saw firsthand that the combination of patients and care partners working alongside industry is an important key to success,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb.

Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, said,“The caliber of submissions for this year’s awards was extremely high and we would like to congratulate all those who made it to the Summit. We congratulate Russell, Cesare and Michael and would also like to extend our thanks to the expert panel of judges who had to choose between so many worthy finalists. These awards are testament to the many entrepreneurs out there who are using their own personal experiences to bring innovation and new solutions to the challenges of cancer. Helsinn is proud to support innovation of this quality and looks forward to supporting budding entrepreneurs in coming years.”

About Lyfebulb

Lyfebulb is a chronic disease-focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients and industry to support user-driven innovation. Grounded with its strong foundation in diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, mental health, migraine and transplantation.

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About the Helsinn Groups

Helsinn is a privately-owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland, the U.S., Monaco and China, as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally.

To learn more about Helsinn Group please visit

About Helsinn Investment Fund S.A., SICAR

The Helsinn Investment Fund is focused on investments in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by the Helsinn Group, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity and respect, Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients.

Drawing on Helsinn’s over 40 years of investment into research and development and commercial expertise, the investment fund selects companies with technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions.

For more information, visit

About Helsinn International Services sarl

Helsinn International Services sarl is the Helsinn subsidiary which provides a range of advisory services and strategic activities to the Group and its specific companies. In particular, it acts as the advisory company to Helsinn Investment Fund.

For more information:

Helsinn Group Media Contact

Paola Bonvicini

Group Head of Communication

Lugano, Switzerland

Tel: +41 (0) 91 985 21 21

For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Vimeo.

Lyfebulb Media Contact:

Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD

CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb

Phone: + 1 917-575-0210


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