NORTHBROOK - Astellas Pharma US, Inc. ('Astellas') today announced the Grand Prize winner and two Innovation Prize winners for the fifth annual Astellas Oncology C3 Prize (Changing Cancer Care), a global challenge that advances ideas beyond medicine to improve everyday challenges for people with cancer, their caregivers, and the broader oncology community.
Dr. Omolola Salako, founder and CEO of Oncopadi, from Lagos, Nigeria, was selected as this year's C3 Prize Grand Prize Winner, after pitching her idea to a panel of expert judges. Astellas will award $100,000 in grants and resources to advance her winning idea, a web and mobile app that connects cancer patients with specialists and hospitals they need to access care in Nigeria. Dr. Salako is a radiation oncologist who was inspired to make a difference in the cancer community after her sister passed away from advanced kidney cancer. With the funds from the C3 Prize, Dr. Salako intends to expand the reach of Oncopadi, so that more people can connect with specialists and receive treatment earlier, before their cancer has progressed.
'I believe anyone diagnosed with cancer should have instant access to accurate cancer information and support to help them make better health decisions,' Dr. Salako said. 'Oncopadi is improving the experience of people with cancer and empowering a new model of medicine that makes patients equal partners in their care. I am grateful for the opportunity to expand the reach of Oncopadi's mobile cancer app to more people living with cancer in Nigeria to provide telemedicine, symptom trackers, educational materials and support groups to empower patients in their care.'
Fostering connection and empowerment during the cancer journey was a common theme among the ideas presented by this year's winners, which sought to ease the increased burden of COVID-19 on cancer care.
The fifth annual C3 Prize Innovation Prize winners include: Dr. Valeria Arango Velez of Medellin, Colombia, founder of Healing Presents, is an integrative oncologist who also personally experienced cancer. She developed a mind-body therapy app designed to help people to better cope with the daily emotional challenges of their cancer journey. The app was created with scientifically proven mind-body therapies to help improve personal wellbeing during each moment of the cancer journey.
Lisa McKenzie of New Orleans, U.S., founder of You Night Empowering Events, is an entrepreneur who witnessed the challenging emotional journey of cancer care after two good friends experienced cancer. She developed a virtual narrative therapy program that brings together small groups of women impacted by cancer to share their stories, with an emphasis on emotional healing after treatment. She is helping women articulate their life's journey through key experiences, finding inner strength and remembering they are far more than their cancer diagnosis.
'The C3 Prize started as a hopeful idea five years ago and has since become a transformative global initiative that embodies the Astellas Oncology central mission: to make every day better for people impacted by cancer,' said Mark Reisenauer, senior vice president, oncology business unit, Astellas. 'We are proud to support this year's winning ideas, which have the potential to transform the cancer care experience for people across the world.'
The finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of leaders in business, innovation, and cancer care, with entrepreneur cancer activist Bill Rancic serving as emcee, at a virtual event premiered on Facebook on March 23, 2021.
'I'm grateful to be a part of the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize again this year. When my wife Giuliana was diagnosed with cancer, we saw how complex it is to navigate cancer care, and I am moved to see these innovators using their experiences to ease the cancer journey for others. Their game-changing ideas are tackling everyday challenges facing the cancer community,' Rancic said. 'This year's Grand Prize winning idea is putting the focus on simplifying cancer care by connecting patients to the resources they need.'
Judges for this year's C3 Prize included Steve Alperin, CEO, SurvivorNet; Steven Collens, CEO, MATTER; Margaret Laws, president and CEO, Hopelab; Ebele Mbanugo, executive director, Run for a Cure Africa and 2018 C3 Prize Grand Prize winner and Hernni Oliveira, Ph.D., CEO, BRIGHT Digital and 2017 C3 Prize Grand Prize winner.
This year's challenge awarded three prizes totaling $200,000 in funds (one Grand Prize of $100,000, and two $50,000 Innovation Prizes). Along with the funding, all winners will receive a yearlong complimentary membership to MATTER, a global healthcare startup incubator, community nexus and corporate innovation accelerator. The Grand Prize winner will also receive hands-on support, expertise, and resources from Slalom, a modern consulting firm focused on strategy, technology, and business transformation.
About the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize
The Astellas Oncology C3 Prize, launched in 2016, is a global challenge that aims to address the complexities of the cancer journey by funding the best ideas in cancer care beyond medicine. The C3 Prize sparks innovative developments in cancer care, tackling cancer challenges by awarding the winners with prize money and connecting them with resources and support. The C3 Prize directly reflects the mission of Astellas Oncology: striving to make every day better for those impacted by cancer. Astellas maintains no ownership in the ventures funded by the C3 Prize.
Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products.
MATTER is a global healthcare startup incubator, community nexus and corporate innovation accelerator. MATTER mobilizes a community of entrepreneurs, industry innovators, scientists and clinicians committed to improving health and care for every person.
Slalom is a modern consulting firm focused on strategy, technology, and business transformation. In 39 markets around the world, Slalom's teams have autonomy to move fast and do what's right. They are backed by regional innovation hubs, a global culture of collaboration, and partnerships with the world's top technology providers.
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