June 27, 2019

Hacking Dermatology Announces Call for Applications and Mentors for 2019

Partnership Among Advancing Innovation in Dermatology (AID), Hacking Medicine Institute (HMi) and LEO Science & Tech Hub, the Boston-based R&D innovation unit of LEO Pharma, begins its Second Year Cam


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Partnership Among Advancing Innovation in Dermatology (AID), Hacking Medicine Institute (HMi) and LEO Science & Tech Hub, the Boston-based R&D innovation unit of LEO Pharma, begins its Second Year Cam

Partnership Among Advancing Innovation in Dermatology (AID), Hacking Medicine Institute (HMi) and LEO Science & Tech Hub, the Boston-based R&D innovation unit of LEO Pharma, begins its Second Year

Cambridge, Mass., June 27, 2019 – Applications are now being accepted for Hacking Dermatology 2019, an innovation challenge that unites clinical and scientific experts, patients, engineers and innovators to reimagine the landscape of patient care. Winning teams will be awarded a total of $85,000 (USD) in grants and entered into an acceleration period to receive mentorship and access to resources to bring solutions to market.

The hackathon takes place Sept 13-15, 2019, at District Hall in Boston. Participants will attend all three days of the hackathon, pitch ideas on Friday’s kickoff event, and join and actively contribute on a team that competes throughout the weekend. Mentors will come from a variety of backgrounds and will volunteer to work with multiple teams and provide expertise, guidance and feedback on projects.

“Hacking Dermatology is designed to cultivate an open community of scientists, clinicians, patients and advocates,” said Laura Duerksen, Executive Director of Hacking Medicine Institute. “We all share a mission to radically improve the dermatological patient journey and to dream big about precision medicine and potential cures for skin conditions.”

“Together with Hacking Medicine Institute, MIT Hacking Medicine, LEO Pharma and the LEO Science & Tech Hub, we value open science, innovation and collaboration to enable new ideas that can meaningfully benefit patients, healthcare providers and healthcare broadly,” said William Ju, MD, FAAD, President and Founding Trustee of the non-profit Advancing Innovation in Dermatology, Inc. ”Our goal is to facilitate productive interactions and create an ecosystem with a shared interest in helping to substantially improve dermatologic health.”

The Hacking Dermatology program is comprised of three stages: 1) challenge statement development and identification, 2) a hackathon and 3) an incubation period with additional funding opportunities for the winning teams. The third stage includes incubation and a pitch competition into early 2020. All stages are open to new participants and incorporate open science and new perspectives.

In early 2019, the Hacking Dermatology community collaborated on challenge statements reflective of the large problems facing dermatology clinicians, researchers and patients. For 2019, these final 10 challenge statements relate to precision medicine:

  • How can we better track response to treatments?
  • How can we harness phenotype, genotype, molecular signatures and clinical data to identify disease endotypes and patient cohorts to guide current or novel treatment strategies?
  • What technologies or delivery systems can be designed to improve treatment adherence and patient acceptance?
  • What tools or technologies could be developed to better understand the relationship between external factors (e.g. behavioral or environmental) and skin disease?
  • How can we use technology to decrease the inefficiencies of prior authorization?
  • How can artificial intelligence (AI) be utilized within a health economics framework to demonstrate cost-benefit and drive value-based reimbursement?
  • Using large data sets, what tools can be invented to help clinicians and researchers better understand the pathophysiology of chronic skin conditions and detect or predict flares?
  • How can continuous care for patients be better coordinated?
  • How can precision medicine help our understanding of molecular pathways and causation?
  • How can we create ontologies and structure clinical visits and medical record taking to support machine learning and big data analysis, while optimizing efficiency in the clinic?

“Precision medicine aims at identifying the most suitable treatment for each individual patient,” said Alex Ignatius Costa, Principal Technology and Innovation Manager, LEO Science & Tech Hub. “To achieve advancements in precision medicine, we must better understand different factors that contribute to the course of disease between patients with the same disease. We look forward to how this year’s Hacking Dermatology addresses the precision medicine theme, potentially bringing us closer to solutions that can one day support treatment decisions.”

Hacking Dermatology was modeled on the Hacking Medicine Institute’s extended innovation program and is the result of a productive partnership between AID, HMi and the LEO Science & Tech Hub of LEO Pharma. This is the second year for the program; 2018 awardees included Lucid, a personalized and automated home patch testing solution; RxThat, an online prescription marketplace and management application; and MatchLab, a skin-image analysis service that provides image tracking and datasets for use in AI diagnostic models.

The Hacking Dermatology Steering Committee is made up of a working group of representatives from the founding organizations; these are Duerksen; Costa; Olga Afanasiev, MD, Dermatology Resident, Stanford Health Care, and Co-founder, HealthAI @ Stanford; Jamie Breslin, Director of Operations and Partnerships, AID; and Adam Raff, MD, PhD, Director of Translational Medicine, LEO Pharma.

Those interested in participating or mentoring can learn more, apply or express interest at:

About Hacking Medicine Institute + MIT Hacking Medicine
HMi is an educational 501c3 that practices and studies contemporary healthcare innovation, by working with industry and academic partners to organize hackathons and challenges and by studying the process of innovation and publishing on findings. These complimentary, parallel programs allow for the active progress of healthcare innovation through critical and evidenced based strategies.

MIT Hacking Medicine is a group founded at MIT in 2011, comprising of MIT students and community members, aimed at energizing the healthcare community and accelerating medical innovation. We accomplish this by carrying out health hackathons, design thinking workshops, and networking gatherings to teach healthcare entrepreneurship and develop digital strategies to scale medicine as a way to solve health problems worldwide. To date, the group has organized more than 150 events across 15 countries and 5 continents with over 40 companies, raising over $200M in venture funding.

About Advancing Innovation in Dermatology
Advancing Innovation in Dermatology (AID) is a non-profit organization committed to catalyzing the development of new solutions that can significantly improve skin health. Through multiple initiatives, activities, and actions, AID provides support, resources, and a nexus for individuals and organizations who are effecting change in dermatology by creating a next generation of innovative and impactful products.

About LEO Science & Tech Hub
The LEO Science & Tech Hub is an R&D innovation unit of LEO Pharma dedicated to identifying, developing, and funding innovative solutions that improve the lives of people with skin diseases. It was founded in 2016 as a catalyst to transform early-stage innovations into solutions for improving the lives of people with skin diseases. We collaborate, explore cutting-edge ideas and make investments. We are an agile group of scientific experts with an entrepreneurial mindset and a vision of how to give patients control over disease by predicting, diagnosing, and monitoring conditions. The LEO Science & Tech Hub is based in Cambridge, Mass.

About LEO Pharma
LEO Pharma helps people achieve healthy skin. The company is a leader in medical dermatology with a robust R&D pipeline, a wide range of therapies and a pioneering spirit. Founded in 1908 and owned by the LEO Foundation, LEO Pharma has devoted decades of research and development to advance the science of dermatology, setting new standards of care for people with skin conditions. LEO Pharma is headquartered in Denmark with a global team of 5,500 people, serving 76 million patients in 130 countries. In 2018, the company generated net sales of DKK 10,410 million.


Hacking Medicine Institute + MIT Hacking Medicine

Laura Duerksen, 540-455-4397
Executive Director of Hacking Medicine Institute.

Advancing Innovation in Dermatology
Jamie Breslin, 908-507-5390
Director Operations and Partnerships

LEO Science & Tech Hub/LEO Pharma
Rhonda Sciarra, 973-637-8019
Associate Director, Global External Communications


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