Health-tech companies grab Chicago Innovation Awards - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Published on October 28, 2015

Source:Chicago Tribune

Health-tech companies grab Chicago Innovation Awards

by:Haley Hinkle

Health care technology dominated the 2015 Chicago Innovation Awards at the Harris Theater on Tuesday night.

Ten companies received awards in the main category, including pharmaceutical company Baxalta for HyQvia, an at-home monthly infusion treatment for patients with immunodeficiency. Baxalta is the pharmaceutical spinoff of Baxter International.

Abbott Vascular, a divison of Abbott, won in the same category for MitraClip, a heart-valve repair technology that helps relieve irregular blood flow in the left ventricle. Other large companies taking awards included Caterpillar, for a hydraulic excavator that powers itself, and Aon, for its private insurance exchange for large corporations.

The Chicago Innovation Awards is a for-profit company co-founded in 2002 by Tom Kuczmarski ⇒ and Dan Miller ⇒. Tuesday’s event honored winners selected from a pool of 535 nominated organizations. Twelve judges determined winners from a final pool of 100.

Other winners included Avant, the fast-growing lending platform that has crossed the $1 billion “unicorn” valuation mark; ContextMedia, which provides health information to patients in waiting rooms and is hiring hundreds of employees; LuminAID, an inflatable lighting source for disaster relief that drew an investment from Mark Cuban on “Shark Tank”; and Kapow, which runs an online marketplace for event planners.

Ten high-potential companies received Up-and-Comer awards. Winners in this category included Opternative, maker of an online eye exam; King-Devick Test, an iPad app created with Mayo Clinic to screen athletes for concussions on the sideline of sports competitions; and Ampy, for its charger that uses kinetic energy to power mobile devices.

The social innovator award went to The Cara Program for its work connecting homeless people in Chicago to employment. Coapt received a collaboration award for its work with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago on Complete Control, a digital prosthetic arm technology.

More than 40,000 votes were cast online to select the two people’s choice award winners, according to the Chicago Innovation Awards. Growth Equity Group, an online real estate investment and property management firm, won in the private-sector category.

The 606 won in the public-sector category for its long-term project to convert the old Bloomingdale Line tracks into a trail and park space.

Owning their role as cheerleaders of the community who always have a surprise up their sleeves, Kuczmarski and Miller cast themselves as “innovation mascots” for this year’s ceremony, training with Northwestern University's Willie the Wildcat in a video segment.

The founders then arrived onstage in a convertible and light-up garb to dance with Willie, Clark from the Chicago Cubs, Southpaw from the White Sox, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Tommy Hawk and Staley Da Bear of the Chicago Bears.

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