In today’s interconnected world, there is a greater need to work together to spark potential solutions for tomorrow’s known and unknown public health threats. New innovations, particularly those with multi-use potential, are needed to help rapidly and efficiently respond to emerging health security threats and infectious diseases. BLUE KNIGHT™, a joint initiative between Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS (‘JLABS’) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), seeks to answer this call by anticipating potential health security threats, activating the global innovation community, and amplifying scientific and technological advancements. To that end, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, together with BARDA, are proud to launch the BLUE KNIGHT™ QuickFire Challenge: Next-Generation Preparedness Solutions. Innovators from across the globe are invited to submit potentially ground-breaking ideas or technologies that aim to enhance preparedness towards future known and unknown infectious disease threats. Up to four innovator(s) with the best potential solution can receive award funding from a total pool of $200,000 and access to the global Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS network through Blue Knight residency with mentorship from experts at the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies and BARDA.* * Subject to the execution of the necessary documentation and (award) agreements For more information on BLUE KNIGHT™, please visit our web page here.
Why this challenge matters to us Blue Knight is a collaboration dedicated to anticipating potential health security threats, activating the global innovation community, and amplifying scientific and technological advancements with the aim to prepare for and respond to our rapidly evolving global health environment. Through expert programming, mentorship and residency opportunities, Blue Knight aims to stimulate a pipeline of innovative, early-stage startups that are strategically aligned to mutual areas of interest between BARDA and the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, while also supporting the advancement of end-to-end, adjunct solutions with the potential to address innovation gaps along the development pathway and the continuum of care. Blue Knight hopes that by fostering an ecosystem of innovation focused on improving our response capacity and capabilities in these areas, we will be better able to address 21st century health security threats.
What we’re looking for
We are interested in novel technologies that aim to enhance preparedness towards future known and unknown infectious disease threats. Innovators must be developing potential preparedness solutions addressing at least one of the following QuickFire Challenge focus areas:
Targeting the host response to known and unknown future infectious disease threats, with interest in:
Technologies that allow for the identification of potential biomarker associations leading to long-term morbidities resulting from infectious disease (e.g., exposure/epitope profiling, signaling pathways, autoantibody profiling), including mechanisms, potential targets for treatment, and patient stratification
Host-directed therapeutics that restore homeostasis of the host response to infection (either during active infection or after infection) or to improve directionality towards homeostasis
Technologies that leverage the potential links between pathogen exposure and autoimmunity to improve patient outcomes, including modulating the immune system after respiratory distress
Enabling streamlined manufacturing of therapeutics and/or vaccines, with interest in:
Platforms and technologies with the potential to increase shelf-life and/or reduce the reliance on cold chain
Technologies that enhance vaccine manufacturing by improving efficiency, scalability, and/or sustainability
Nucleic acid manufacturing technologies, including optimization of cell expression or cell free systems, formulation, and/or purification technologies
Leveraging the host microbiome, with interest in:
Microbiome-based (including gut, lung, or skin) therapeutics or preventatives that rely on immunomodulation (e.g., elicit innate immune system, imprinting the immune system to train innate immunity, downregulation of inflammatory responses), including those that address multi-organ issues or train the microbiome of pediatric populations to be more resilient to the severity of infectious diseases
Potential solutions will be evaluated by a panel of reviewers and judged on their ability to meet the following criteria:
Compelling and credible science and/or technology that has the potential to change the trajectory of health
Addressing an area of significant unmet need
Strategic alignment with the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies' and BARDA areas of focus
Easy-to administer for the intended indications, including orally, nasally, or topically, if applicable
Technologies that have the potential as multi-use solutions (indications as medical countermeasures for specific threat areas and for commercial use) or are threat-agnostic
Particular interest in technologies aiming to support the needs of diverse populations, including at-risk, immunocompromised, geriatric, and pediatric populations
Award funding from a total pool of up to
Access to the global Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS network through Blue Knight residency with mentorship from experts across the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies and BARDA*
Learn more about BLUE KNIGHT™ and hear from current companies
Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS (JLABS) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) hosted the second BLUE KNIGHT™ Symposium in June 2022. You can now register for on-demand access to the global conversation with innovators, investors, partners, and thought leaders to discover and accelerate next-gen potential solutions for future pandemics, emerging infectious diseases, and other known and unknown health threats.
Access on-demand programming here.
About Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC works across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer health sectors to accelerate early-stage, transformational solutions by catalyzing the best ideas, wherever they are in the world. We do this by harnessing our deep scientific capabilities coupled with a wide range of tools, including customized deal structures, company creation, incubation and startup services, capital investments and other innovative business models that aim to meet the diverse needs of entrepreneurs, scientists, and emerging companies. Our goal is to help life science and health technology innovations thrive through collaboration and partnership with the global ecosystem, so that together we can change the trajectory of human health. Meet our passionate team of science and technology experts and learn how to collaborate with us at www.jnjinnovation.com.
About HHS, ASPR, and BARDA
HHS works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. The mission of ASPR is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. Within ASPR, BARDA invests in the innovation, advanced research and development, acquisition, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products – needed to combat health security threats. To date, BARDA-supported products have achieved over 60 FDA approvals, licensures or clearances. To learn more about BARDA’s portfolio and about partnering with BARDA, visit www.medicalcountermeasures.gov/.
About BLUE KNIGHT™
Blue Knight is a joint initiative between Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This collaboration aims to stimulate the innovation and incubation of science and technologies that may improve health security and response by supporting companies focused on public health threats and emerging infectious diseases. Find out more about BARDA and its mission at www.medicalcountermeasures.gov/.
* Subject to the execution of the necessary documentation and (award) agreements.