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Johnson & Johnson Innovation launches Singapore QuickFire Challenge Competition in collaboration with ETPL and SMART to accelerate solutions for diabetes and other metabolic diseases

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SINGAPORE, March 22, 2017 – Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Division of Johnson & Johnson (China) Investment Ltd., announced today a collaboration with A*STAR’s ETPL, through its Diagnostics Development Hub, and Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), to launch the Singapore QuickFire Challenge – Metabolic Disease Innovation.

This global competition, launched today at the 2017 Biopharma Asia Conference in Singapore, will award the entrepreneur, academic, and biotech researchers who submit the best ideas, technologies, or solutions holding the potential of making a major difference for the millions of people in Asia Pacific and around the world who suffer from metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.

The QuickFire Challenge is managed by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS, a global network of open innovation ecosystems, enabling and empowering innovators to create and accelerate the delivery of life-saving, life-enhancing health and wellness solutions to patients around the world. It combines Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s robust global network with ETPL’s and SMART’s unique capabilities in innovation to identify breakthrough solutions for the diagnosis and/or treatment of metabolic diseases.

Each of the top three winners will be awarded SGD100,000 project money for research in Singapore, access to ETPL laboratory space, and one year of mentorship and coaching by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, ETPL and SMART staff. At least one core team member of the applicant must reside in Singapore for no less than 50 percent of the term of the grant. All finalists will receive eight weeks of mentorship.

By launching the QuickFire Challenge, Johnson & Johnson Innovation aims to address the problem of metabolic diseases, which are reaching epidemic proportions in Asia Pacific. Diabetes currently affects over 250 million people in the region and is expected to impact the lives of over 500 million people in China and India alone by 2030[1]. Obesity is growing particularly fast in China, with the disease burden rising from 11.3 percent to 27.9 percent of adults, and from 5.7 percent to 18.8 percent of youths aged 19 and below between 1980 and 2013[2].

The QuickFire Challenge aims to identify breakthrough solutions for these diseases by combining Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s global reach and expertise with the unique capabilities of ETPL -- the commercialisation arm of A*STAR, Singapore’s lead agency for science and research and development, which engages the industry to drive innovation and advance technology for economic and social impact -- and SMART, which leverages funding from the Singapore National Research Foundation to propel scientists and engineers, across a broad range of emerging technologies, from bench to business.

The Challenge demonstrates Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s strong commitment to working in partnership to nurture the healthcare ecosystem in Singapore and in other innovation hotspots around the world, with the aim of positively impacting human health through innovation.

The strategic partnership reinforces Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s unique vision for collaboration in an open innovation model, where connections between researchers, investors, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders are facilitated as part of a global innovation network. It also demonstrates Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s rare combination of scale and agility, as well as scientific and commercial expertise needed to transform an early idea into game-changing Pharmaceutical, Consumer, and Medical Device products for the benefit of people around the world.

“We are passionate about working side-by-side with innovators to develop ideas for today’s most pressing healthcare needs. Our strategic partnership with ETPL and SMART emphasizes that we are determined to grow and nurture healthcare ecosystems in global innovation hotspots like Singapore.” said Dong Wu, Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Asia Pacific.

Additional details about the Singapore QuickFire Challenge:

  • Johnson & Johnson Innovation, through its JLABS and Shanghai-based Asia Pacific Innovation Center, will team up with ETPL and SMART to manage the strategic direction of the Challenge and form a Joint Collaboration Committee to manage the co-branded program.
  • This challenge is supported by SPRING Singapore, an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry responsible for helping Singapore enterprises grow and building trust in Singapore products and services.
  • Applications for this initiative will be reviewed by a Selection Committee with members from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, ETPL, and SMART.
  • The QuickFire Challenge welcomes proposal submissions from 22 March 2017 until 17 May 2017.
  • Finalists are announced on 28 June 2017.
  • Mentoring sessions for Finalists begins 5 July 2017 for eight weeks.
  • Finalists give live presentations to Judges on 24 August 2017.
  • Award results will be announced between 19 and 21 September 2017.

For more information about the QuickFire Challenge (including the terms and conditions of entry), please visit: .


About Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC focuses on accelerating all stages of innovation worldwide and forming collaborations between entrepreneurs and Johnson & Johnson’s global healthcare businesses. Johnson & Johnson Innovation provides scientists, entrepreneurs and emerging companies with one-stop access to science and technology experts who can facilitate collaborations across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer companies of Johnson & Johnson. Under the Johnson & Johnson Innovation umbrella of businesses, we connect with innovators through our regional Innovation Centers, JLABS, Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC, Inc. and our Business Development teams to create customized deals and novel collaborations that speed development of innovations to solve unmet needs in patients. For more information please visit

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABSJohnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS (JLABS) is a global network of open innovation ecosystems, enabling and empowering innovators to create and accelerate the delivery of life-saving, life-enhancing health and wellness solutions to patients around the world. JLABS achieves this by providing the optimal environment for emerging companies to catalyze growth and optimize their research and development by opening them to vital industry connections, delivering entrepreneurial programs and providing a capital-efficient, flexible platform where they can transform the scientific discoveries of today into the breakthrough healthcare solutions of tomorrow. At JLABS we value great ideas and are passionate about removing obstacles to success to help innovators unleash the potential of their early scientific discoveries. JLABS is a no-strings-attached model, which means entrepreneurs are free to develop their science while holding on to their intellectual property. JLABS is open to entrepreneurs across a broad healthcare spectrum including pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and digital health sectors.

JLABS currently has nine locations in innovation hot spots across North America and produces entrepreneurial programs and campaigns to seek out the best science, like the QuickFire Challenges around the globe. The JLABS flagship opened in 2012 in San Diego at Janssen’s West Coast Research Center, and since then, has established two locations in San Francisco - one through a collaboration with the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) and a second standalone facility in South San Francisco. JLABS is also located in Boston through a collaboration with LabCentral, in Lowell, Massachusetts through a collaboration with UMass, in Houston through a collaboration with the Texas Medical Center (TMC), in Toronto through a collaboration with the Ontario Government and the University of Toronto and a new JLABS @ NYC (in collaboration with the New York Genome Center -opening in 2018). For more information about JLABS, please visit


[1] What is Diabetes? Facts and Figures (n.d.). In Asian Diabetes Prevention Initiative. Retrieved from

[2] Cheong, W.S. (2014, December). Overweight and Obesity in Asia. GenRe. Retrieved from

Media Contact
Julien Dedman
Johnson & Johnson Innovation
+852 9022 8032

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