Three Lakes Partners and MATTER Announce $1 Million Healthcare Challenge to Drive Quality-of-Life Solutions for People Living With Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)



IPF Catalyst Challenge to Engage the World’s Brightest Innovators and Entrepreneurs in the Tech, Healthcare, and Scientific Research Communities

CHICAGO, Thursday, April 27, 2017Three Lakes Partners, a venture philanthropy committed to ending idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), in collaboration with MATTER, the healthcare technology incubator and innovation hub, announced its $1 million IPF Catalyst Challenge this evening during a gathering of some of the world’s foremost IPF experts and healthcare thought leaders at MATTER’s headquarters in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

Three Lakes Partners has also engaged IDEO, the award-winning global design and innovation consultancy, and Common Pool, renowned for creating competitions to solve the world’s most challenging problems, to collaborate with them on the IPF Catalyst Challenge.

“IPF kills approximately the same number of people annually as breast cancer, yet it remains an unknown disease that receives very little attention,” said Ken Bahk PhD, managing director, Three Lakes Partners. “Our mission is on behalf of patients and caregivers: to increase visibility of this disease and to attack IPF from all sides — diagnosis, treatment, and patient quality of life — all by engaging the most innovative, aggressive, and experienced partners in our collective fight. We are excited and grateful to work with our world class collaborators MATTER, IDEO, and Common Pool in this first step, the IPF Catalyst Challenge.”

The IPF Catalyst Challenge will engage global innovators and entrepreneurs in the tech, healthcare, and scientific research communities to find quality-of-life solutions for IPF patients and their caregivers. The $1 million cash and incentive purse is the largest healthcare prize awarded for a challenge in the Midwest to date, and the biggest in MATTER’s history. It is also the first time a cash and incentive purse of this magnitude has been put in place to help people with this disease.

“Too few people know about IPF, and far too few are developing solutions to help people suffering from this terrible disease,” said Steven Collens, MATTER CEO. “Working with Three Lakes Partners to engage a global community of entrepreneurs, researchers, designers, and industry experts, we will accelerate the development of technologies that will change the lives of people living with IPF.”

“Solving big challenges like IPF is exactly why we created MATTER just two years ago,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuelsaid. “The mission of this challenge will inspire Chicago’s thriving startup community to create solutions that will improve the lives of individuals and families who are suffering from IPF.”

IPF is an irreversible, unpredictable, and incurable interstitial lung disease. Without any known cause, it starts with scarring – or stiffening – of the lung tissue that prohibits the lungs from properly moving oxygen into the bloodstream, making it difficult to breathe. It is a chronic illness that progresses differently in every patient, but ultimately never improves. It is typically fatal within three to five years of diagnosis. Approximately 125,000 people in the US are living with IPF, and roughly 40,000 die from the disease annually.

The IPF Catalyst Challenge will focus on creating new, smarter solutions for patient management of their biggest need and their biggest frustration – oxygen therapy. In addition to oxygen, the Challenge will look to fund and fuel patient and caregiver management apps and tools, patient education opportunities, devices and diagnostics, and innovative science to help find a cure. The IPF Catalyst Challenge is part of Three Lakes Partners’ larger investment and overall commitment to forging a new vision for IPF by gathering the best minds in and outside the field to develop new solutions to solve this devastating and progressive disease.

The IPF Catalyst Challenge was announced as part of a two-day symposium bringing together some of best and brightest minds in IPF research and fields tangentially – but vitally – related to the space, to look at the disease holistically and discuss innovative ways to accelerate progress toward a cure.

In addition to renowned bioinformatics expert Atul Butte, MD, PhD, inaugural director of the Institute of Computational Health Sciences (ICHS) at the University of California, San Francisco, the list of expert attendees included:

To learn more about the IPF Catalyst Challenge, please visit\ and follow @IPFCatalyst on Twitter or #IPFChallenge and IPF Catalyst on Facebook.

About Three Lakes Partners

Three Lakes Partners, LLC is a venture philanthropy whose mission is to accelerate the development of promising technologies for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). Three Lakes Partners provides not only financial support, but also operational leverage via partnership with a greater network of IPF resources worldwide. Visit for more information.


MATTER is a community of entrepreneurs, innovators, and industry leaders working together to harness technology to improve health and healthcare. MATTER incubates 200 healthcare technology startups, and the company partners with 11 hospitals and health systems, five universities, and more than 40 industry-leading companies. By equipping, empowering, and emboldening healthcare innovators, MATTER accelerates the development of technologies that solve the right healthcare problems in the right ways. For more information, visit and follow @MATTERhealth.

About IDEO

IDEO is an award-winning global design and innovation consultancy with roots stretching back to 1978. A pioneer of human-centered design and an approach to innovation called design thinking, IDEO ranks as “one of the most innovative companies in the world” by business leaders in a global survey by Boston Consulting Group. For more information, visit

About Common Pool

Common Pool, LLC is a consulting firm focused exclusively on the design, development, and management of prizes, challenge competitions, and other forms of incentive-based programs. Common Pool provides expert advice and an online prize platform that supports private sector companies, foundations, NGOs, and government agencies in meeting their philanthropic and innovation goals. For more information, visit


Theresa Hennessey Barcy, Three Lakes Partners


Melissa Lederer, MATTER

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