Epilepsy Foundation Plans to Award Up to $200K in Grants to Drive Development of Innovative Therapies for People with Epilepsy

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Funding to Support Concepts that Address Treatment Gaps for People with Epilepsy

LANDOVER, Md.  Epilepsy Foundation today announced it is accepting letters of intent for its 2020 New Therapy Commercialization Grant program and Epilepsy Innovation Seal of Excellence. The Foundation plans to award up to $200,000 to leading scientists and start-up companies to fund the development of new therapies, including but not limited to medicines, biologics or devices. In addition, Epilepsy Foundation will award the Epilepsy Innovation Seal of Excellence to a company that is highly innovative, meets the Foundation’s standards of excellence, and addresses an unmet need in the epilepsy community.

“We aim to close any treatment gaps in our community by ensuring that products get to market in a timeframe that matters,” said Sonya Dumanis PhD, senior director of innovation, Epilepsy Foundation. “That is why we support startups and fund innovative ideas to accelerate therapies onto the marketplace. We are committed to encouraging and fostering entrepreneurship to discover new treatment options and ultimately, cures, for the 3.4 million people in the U.S. — and 65 million in the world — living with epilepsy.”

The New Therapy Commercialization Grant is part of the Foundation’s Epilepsy Therapy Project, a research program that seeks to advance innovative ideas in epilepsy, seizure treatment, and care. This year, the Foundation awarded $200,000 to Dirk Loeckx, Ph.D., co-founder and chief scientific officer of Epihunter. Dr. Loeckx’s goal is to further develop a solution that allows for real-time monitoring of absence seizures using commercially available wearable EEG hardware from a single-lead channel. The company had previously tested a prototype product on individuals to improve the design and user interface of the system. The grant will be used to conduct clinical studies, in partnership with Boston’s Children’s Hospital, to validate the absence seizure detection algorithm, laying the groundwork for getting clearance from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

In addition, the Epilepsy Foundation awards a seal of approval that certifies that a specific epilepsy-related company meets the Foundation’s standards of excellence and innovation. The program provides a competitive, in-depth review by the scientific and business advisory boards, and a seal may be used by the awardee to generate interest and funding in their project. In 2019, the Innovation Seal of Excellence was awarded to Christopher Reyes, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Bloom Science, Inc. for their exploration of the gut microbiome as a new therapeutic target for drug-resistant epilepsy. The company is developing a live biotherapeutic product that has been shown to thrive under the ketogenic diet and independent of the diet, demonstrates reduction of seizure burden in multiple epilepsy animal models. If successful, this would be a completely new treatment option for people with epilepsy.

The Foundation’s Epilepsy Therapy Project has invested approximately $8.9 million in more than 95 different initiatives in the clinical pipeline over the past decade. In the last two years alone, four products that received seed funding from the Epilepsy Foundation have received regulatory approval: 

  • UNEEG 24/7 EEG™ SubQ: CE-marked in 2019
  • Embrace: FDA-cleared in January 2018 & Embrace2: FDA-cleared December 2018
  • Epidiolex®: FDA-approved in July 2018
  • Zeto EEG system: FDA-cleared in April 2018

Letters of intent for the 2020 New Therapy Commercialization Grant and Epilepsy Innovation Seal of Excellence award will be accepted until September 28, 2019. For more information about on research grants currently available, please visit epilepsy.com/make-difference/research-and-new-therapies/upcoming-grants.

About Epilepsy
According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide with no age, racial, social class, national or geographic boundaries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3.4 million people in the United States are affected by epilepsy. It is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce seizures which are sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt brain functions.

About the Epilepsy Foundation
The Foundation is leading the fight to END EPILEPSY®. With a network of nearly 50 partners throughout the United States, the Foundation connects people to treatment, support and resources; leads advocacy efforts; funds innovative research and the training of specialists; and educates the public about epilepsy and seizure first aid. For more than five decades, the Epilepsy Foundation has shone a light on epilepsy to promote awareness and understanding, and to advocate for laws that matter to people with epilepsy, while also funding $65 million for epilepsy research and supporting 3,076 epilepsy investigators and specialists in their early careers. Over the past 17 years, in partnership with the CDC, the Epilepsy Foundation has helped to improve access to care for people with epilepsy, expanded its digital reach and online resources in homes across the country, and trained more than 500,000 school and community personnel in how to recognize seizures and administer seizure first aid. The Foundation has also assisted more than 108,000 people through its 24/7 Helpline in the past five years, and continues to focus on innovation, new therapies, community services, advocacy and education as key priorities. To learn more visit epilepsy.com or call 1.800.332.1000. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact Name: 
Jackie Aker
Contact Phone: 
(310) 846-9272
Contact Email: 

Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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