HOUSTON – May 4, 2022 – The winners of Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards were announced this week, honoring clean technology, innovative corporate initiatives, brave new designs for cities and buildings, and other creative works that are supporting the growth of positive social innovation, tackling social inequality, climate change, and public health crises.
Spark Biomedical (Spark) – a leader in wearable neurostimulation and developer of the first drug-free, personalized, wearable solution for opioid withdrawal relief – and Velentium – a professional engineering firm that specializes in the design and manufacturing of therapeutic and diagnostic active medical devices – were among the honorable mentions in the North America and Health Categories for jointly designing and manufacturing life-saving, patient-ready neurostimulation devices that help adults and newborns safely and rapidly overcome opioid withdrawal.
The Sparrow Therapy System, developed by Spark Biomedical, is the first FDA-cleared, drug-free, non-invasive wearable neurostimulation solution for opioid withdrawal relief. The device is worn on and around the ear and explicitly designed to aid in the relief of opioid withdrawal symptoms by delivering gentle electrical stimulation to cranial nerve branches that in turn kick-start endogenous endorphin release and reduce symptoms. In addition to The Sparrow Therapy System, indicated for adult use, Spark has ambitiously developed a similar system, specifically designed to aid infants born into Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS). This system is currently in clinical trials and was recently awarded Breakthrough Device Designation by the FDA.
Now in its sixth year, the World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 39 winners, 350 finalists, and more than 600 honorable mentions—with climate, social justice, and AI and data among the most popular categories. A panel of eminent Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners and finalists from a pool of 2,998 entries across transportation, education, food, politics, technology, health, social justice, and more. In addition, several new categories have been added this year including climate, nature, water, and workplace. The 2022 awards feature entries from across the globe, from Switzerland to Hong Kong to Australia.
Fast Company’s Summer 2022 issue (on newsstands May 10, 2022) will showcase some of the world’s most inventive entrepreneurs and companies tackling global challenges. The issues highlight, among others, probiotics for coral reefs, easy-to-assemble kit homes for refugees or disaster survivors, a 3D printed vaccine patch, an electric truck, a system to heat homes from the waste heat of a name-brand factory, and prosecutor-initiated resentencing for overly long prison sentences.
“We are thrilled that the Sparrow Therapy System received an honorable mention by Fast Company,” said Daniel Powell, CEO of Spark Biomedical. “When the Spark team identified the pressing need to address the opioid epidemic then further pinpointed and clinically proved the neurological mechanism of action, we needed a likeminded partner to help us bring our much-needed wearable neurostimulation solution from concept to fruition. Pairing our future vision and scientific and technology expertise with Velentium’s engineering and manufacturing prowess is a vital component in addressing the opioid epidemic and ultimately changing the world.”
“It is inspiring to witness how many innovative companies call Houston home,” said Dan Purvis, CEO of Velentium. “As technology evolves, so does our expansive partner ecosystem – a unique network driving the success and future prosperity of the medical device industry. It has been a privilege to advance wearable technologies and auricular neural work alongside Spark. We’d like to congratulate all honorees recognized during this year’s awards. Let’s continue to change lives for a better world with great ideas like these.”
To learn more about the Sparrow Therapy System and the partnership ecosystem enabling transformative projects in the medical device industry, click here.
“We are consistently inspired by the novelty and creativity that people are applying to solve some of our society’s most pressing problems, from shelter to the climate crisis. Fast Company relishes its role in amplifying important, innovative work to address big challenges,” says David Lidsky, interim editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “Our journalists have identified some of the most ingenious initiatives to launch since the start of 2021, which we hope will both have a meaningful impact and lead others to join in being part of the solution.”
About the World Changing Ideas Awards
World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.
Headquartered in Houston, Texas with operations globally, Velentium is a professional engineering firm that specializes in the design and manufacturing of therapeutic and diagnostic active medical devices for companies of every size and stage, from Fortune 100s to startups. Velentium offers world-class expertise in software, usability, cybersecurity, mobile and cloud, electrical and mechanical development, regulatory, and systems engineering for medical devices. Velentium transforms IP into safe and secure products that will support healthcare professionals, patients, and communities, and ultimately, change lives for a better world. Velentium is ISO-13485 certified and an FDA-registered Manufacturer of Record. For more information, visit http://www.velentium.com.
Interested in partnering with Velentium to develop your project? Please contact us at NextStep@Velentium.com and help us fulfill our passion for changing lives for a better world.
About Spark Biomedical
Spark Biomedical, Inc. is a leading U.S.-based wearable neurostimulation solutions developer devoted to the life-saving work of helping 36.3 million people worldwide overcome withdrawal, heal from addiction, and achieve the better quality of life they deserve. With opioid-related misuse and overdose deaths on the rise, the company's mission is to eliminate opioid addiction by working to address the full opioid addiction lifecycle, including withdrawal management, opioid-sparing, relapse prevention, and PTSD/trauma abatement.
Spark Biomedical is helping patients take the first step of overcoming acute opioid withdrawal with its FDA-cleared wearable technology, the Sparrow Therapy System — Transcutaneous Auricular Neurostimulation (tAN®) for Opioid Withdrawal Relief. Sparrow™ Therapy provides an easy, safe, and effective drug-free treatment option supported by clinical evidence. Next steps are underway with the launch of two NIDA-funded clinical trials to improve adult relapse rates and help infants suffering from Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS).
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