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In the U.S. alone, 1 in 3 people with epilepsy suffers persistent seizures despite existing treatments. Many others live with serious side effects, including diminished awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment as the price of seizure control.

“Innovation is at the core of the Epilepsy Foundation’s mission to help people with seizures. In order to meet our mission, we need to engage the best minds in epilepsy. Your investment will help accelerate change for millions of people.”   

The Epilepsy Foundation’s New Therapy Grants Program places an exceptional focus on and takes a unique approach to accelerating innovative new therapies for people with epilepsy and seizures. Our Business and Scientific Advisory Boards independently review and evaluate New Therapy Grant proposals semi-annually. We want our New Therapy Grant award winners to succeed scientifically and to create businesses that will deliver new therapies to people with seizures — and they do.

Another feature of the Foundation’s innovative approach is our collaboration with The Epilepsy Study Consortium and the University of Pennsylvania Epilepsy Center on the biennial Antiepileptic Drug and Device (AED) Trails Conference. Held in Aventura, Florida, from May 13 to 17, 2015, the AED Trials Conference brings together representatives from academia, industry, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review what has been learned about epilepsy and to discuss strategies to enhance AED development, especially for treatment-resistant seizures.

The conference includes the Epilepsy Shark Tank competition, which awards $200,000 to innovators working to improve the lives of people living with epilepsy. The awards help accelerate their ideas toward development and commercialization. The 2015 winners were: 

  • Mark Cook, MD, Professor, St. Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, The University of Melbourne, Department of Neurosciences: Sub-scalp Seizure Monitor for Epilepsy Management, which won $125,000, $50,000 from a Judges Award and $75,000 from a People's Choice Award
  • Matteo Lai, Co-founder and CEO, Empatica, Inc., and Rosalind Picard, Sc.D., Co-founder and CSO, Empatica, Inc.: Embrace: Learn How Stress and Sleep Impact Your Seizures, which won a $75,000 Judges Choice Award

On Saturday, May 16, 2015, the Epilepsy Foundation hosted a Community Day with the support of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. This day-long conference provided information on therapies in the epilepsy pipeline and brought hope, empowerment, and community to people and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures.

NEXT: Research and New Therapy Awardees - Fall 2014