The company is backing GEM Boxes, the competition’s winner, and We Are Allies with more than $20,000 worth of funding to help curb the opioid epidemic that kills 91 Americans every day.
GE has been working with the 2 groups since February to support them through mentorship and fundraising, according to a report from the Boston Business Journal.
GEM Boxes won the competition’s $10,000 grand prize with its idea to develop remotely activated boxes containing the opioid overdose reversal drug, Narcan, that passers-by could administer without needing EMS on the scene.
GE told BBJ that it also awarded an undisclosed amount of funding to We Are Allies, a group that carries Narcan in visible cases in the hopes of drawing attention and fighting the stigma that surrounds addiction. The nonprofit was too promising to ignore, GE said.
“We Are Allies was a special case. They were such a stand-out that we actually put them on a separate track from the other hack finalists and funded them with a Foundation grant,” spokeswoman Susan Bishop told the news outlet. “We don’t typically release grant amounts unless they are quite large. Best I can tell you is that it was a bit larger than the $10,000 prize based on the speed to market and early planning and success we saw in the We Are Allies solution.”
The 1st needle-free version of the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone won FDA approval in January last year. This year, Adapt Pharma said that the FDA approved the 2mg formulation of its Narcan nasal spray for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose.