NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lyfebulb, a chronic disease-focused, patient-empowerment platform that connects patients, industry and investors to support user-driven innovation, is partnering with UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) to launch an innovation challenge featuring new businesses and products aimed at treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, up to 1.3 million people in the United States are affected by IBD, which includes Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group will help raise awareness for the conditions and stimulate user-driven innovation. By linking entrepreneurs with representatives from UnitedHealth Group and Lyfebulb, the partnership will spotlight the entrepreneurs’ efforts and ideas, and provide professional discussion, direction and inspiration.

The innovation challenge, to take place in the spring and summer of 2018, will be open to entrepreneurs living with IBD, or who have family members living with IBD, who have founded a company to develop an innovative idea for better management of IBD using pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices or consumer products.  Eligibility criteria and official rules will be announced by Lyfebulb in April. UnitedHealth Group will host an innovation event in July for 10 finalists. A panel of judges will award cash prizes to three winners, to be used for their company’s further development of the winning innovations.

“Patients living with chronic disease and caregivers caring for someone with chronic disease understand the many challenges they face and are often in the best position to offer tangible solutions,” said Deneen Vojta, M.D., executive vice president, Research & Development, UnitedHealth Group. “UnitedHealth Group’s partnership with Lyfebulb will help place the patient at the center of early-stage innovation, thus providing us a unique opportunity to learn from and be inspired by patient-entrepreneurs.”

“This partnership with UnitedHealth Group in IBD means a tremendous amount to Lyfebulb in our efforts to enhance patient-driven innovation,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb. “Continuing to build on the concept of patient entrepreneurs and partnering with leaders across health care are key components to fulfilling our mission to improve the quality of life of people living with chronic disease.”

Press Contact for Lyfebulb:
Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD, CEO Lyfebulb, phone: 917-575-0210 email: karin@lyfebulb.com

About Lyfebulb
Lyfebulb is a chronic disease focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients, Industry (manufacturers and payers) and investors to support user-driven innovation. Lyfebulb promotes a healthy, take-charge lifestyle for those affected by chronic disease. Grounded with its strong foundation in Diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into Cancer and IBD.

See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter. 

Press Contact for UnitedHealth Group:
Jim Merwin, Senior Director, ERD, phone: 952-936-6070, to email: james_merwin@uhg.com