RMIT wins Johnson & Johnson's World without Disease Quickfire Challenge

14 November 2016

Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC and Janssen Research & Development, LLC (Janssen) today announced multiple recipients of U.S. $500,000 grants and offers of residency at Johnson & Johnson Innovation | JLABS (JLABS) in the World Without Disease QuickFire Challenge. The announcement was made at the 2016 Partnering for Cures conference. The competition was the largest and most ambitious Johnson & Johnson Innovation QuickFire Challenge to date, representing an ongoing commitment to support diverse life science innovations and the development of integrated, cross-sector solutions to prevent, intercept and cure diseases.

Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Janssen selected RMIT University, Glyscend, Inc. and Neurotrack to receive the grants from over 470 global applicants with solutions across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer sectors. Australia-based RMIT University’s Micro/Nanomedical Research Center, led by Leslie Yeo, Ph.D., has developed core technology consisting of a portable handheld personalized nebulization platform that enables the aerosolization of drugs for their delivery via inhalation to the lungs. The technology not only offers needle-free administration and the opportunity for systemic delivery of both small and large molecule therapeutics, but also the opportunity for local targeting directly to the lungs, which makes it very attractive for targeting lung diseases, including lung cancer, which is the specific area that represents a critical unmet medical need.

“We reviewed an unprecedented number of world-class technologies through this QuickFire Challenge and our three grant recipients represent potentially transformative innovations that employ cross-sector approaches to intercepting and preventing disease,” said Barry A. Springer, Ph.D., Vice President of Strategy, Technology and Innovation and Research, Janssen BioTherapeutics. “We at Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Innovation are committed to working with the best scientists and innovators globally to develop solutions that address critical patient health needs.”

“We continue the fight for a world without disease and are inspired by these three highly innovative and forward-looking companies, each of which holds potential to transform patient care for widespread health conditions,” said Melinda Richter, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation | JLABS. “We look forward to working more closely with these grant recipients as they advance their healthcare innovations with the goal of delivering solutions to the patients that need them.”

The World Without Disease QuickFire Challenge sought comprehensive, end-to-end, integrated solutions that have the potential to improve the health of people around the world, particularly in disease areas of significant global impact to patients. Challenge entrants were evaluated based on their ability to meet the following criteria:

1. Address a particular cohort with a critical unmet medical need in the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies’ strategic areas of interest, which focus on major diseases of broad impact to people globally.

2. Integrate a novel approach that combines pharmaceutical, medical devices and/or consumer health solutions.

3. Tackle part or all of the spectrum of prevention, interception and cure.

4. Outline how the award would help them reach a critical milestone within the timeframe of a single year and provide a full “time-to-market” plan for their solution.