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Johnson & Johnson Innovation announces winners of the Singapore QuickFire Challenge in collaboration with ETPL and SMART

2017-09-22 17:35
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-- Three winners in the Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Consumer Health sectors, each awarded SGD100,000 in project money to conduct research for the diagnosis and/or treatment of metabolic diseases.
-- Winners to use prize money to conduct research in Singapore and be provided access to laboratory space from ETPL and one year of mentorship and coaching by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, ETPL and SMART staff.

SINGAPORE, Sept. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Division of Johnson & Johnson (China) Investment Ltd., in collaboration with A*STAR's ETPL and Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), today announced the winners of the Singapore QuickFire Challenge -- Metabolic Disease Innovation. The announcement was made at the Singapore-based SWITCH 2017 Conference's Ecosystem Day forum held in partnership with Nature SciCafe Asia 2017. Each of the winners was awarded SGD100,000 project money for research in Singapore, access to ETPL laboratory space, and one year of mentorship and coaching from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, ETPL and SMART.

[L-R] Dr Howard Califano (Director, Innovation Centre, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology), Sidney Yee (CEO, Diagnostics Development Hub, ETPL), Melinda Richter (Global Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS), Alex Gilbert (Growth Manager, Medopad), Dr Peter Droge (Research Fellow, Nanyang Technological University), Philip Lim (CEO, ETPL) and Dong Wu (Head, Asia Pacific Innovation Center, Johnson & Johnson Innovation)
[L-R] Dr Howard Califano (Director, Innovation Centre, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology), Sidney Yee (CEO, Diagnostics Development Hub, ETPL), Melinda Richter (Global Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS), Alex Gilbert (Growth Manager, Medopad), Dr Peter Droge (Research Fellow, Nanyang Technological University), Philip Lim (CEO, ETPL) and Dong Wu (Head, Asia Pacific Innovation Center, Johnson & Johnson Innovation)

The winning entries include a new type of biomarker-based prognostic to better predict risk and personalize treatment for patients with diabetes; a safer non-viral technological solution to decelerate progression of Wilson's disease; and a real-time patient monitoring solution.

The Singapore QuickFire Challenge -- Metabolic Disease Innovation was launched at BioPharma Asia in March 2017 in collaboration with ETPL, through its Diagnostics Development Hub, and SMART to attract entrepreneurs, academics and biotech researchers from around the world to submit the best ideas, technologies, or solutions holding the potential to make a major difference for the millions of people in the Asia Pacific region and around the world who suffer from metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.

The Challenge received a total of 38 applications from 13 countries with solutions across the pharmaceuticals, medical device and consumer sectors.

In announcing the winners at Ecosystem Day, Melinda Richter, Global Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS said, "We reviewed a number of promising proposals through this QuickFire Challenge, and our three winners represent early-stage innovation with true breakthrough potential. We look forward to working closely with them as they advance their ideas with the goal of providing solutions to patients suffering from metabolic diseases."

The winners of each category were:

  • Pharmaceutical: Singapore-based Nanyang Technological University, led by Dr. Harshyaa Makhija, Research Fellow, and Prof. Peter Droge, aims to develop a solution to improve outcome and decelerate progression among patients with Wilson's disease. They have developed a non-viral-based genome insertion tool that can position large DNA fragments in pre-determined sites, to help restore therapeutic levels of the ATP7B protein[1] and mitigate adverse effects associated with such insertions.
  • Consumer Health: New Hampshire-based PreventAGE Health Care, led by Paul Beisswenger, M.D., CSO and Mark Carvlin, Ph.D., President and COO, employs precision bioanalytical techniques, predictive analytics, and proprietary algorithms to alert patients with diabetes to their personal risk for developing specific complications. Patient data is analyzed to identify and quantify a panel of selected biomarkers that are correlated with specific, life-threatening complications. The data is further analyzed and compiled into a report which is used by physicians and patients to predict risk, personalize treatments, improve outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs for patients with diabetes.
  • Medical Devices: London-based Medopad, led by co-founders Dan Vahdat and Rich Khatib, Ph.D., is a CE-marked patient-monitoring software solution company which uses modular care-monitoring tools, vital data tracking, and real-time AI analytics to provide patients the ability to record their wellness in real time, self-monitor treatment regimens, and interact with care providers remotely. Both doctors and patients can use Medopad to track and communicate key diabetes indicators to improve care management and to monitor disease progression.

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. The competition combined Johnson & Johnson Innovation's robust global network with the unique capabilities of SMART and ETPL -- the commercialisation arm of A*STAR, Singapore's lead agency for science and research and development.

Each of the winning entries seeks to address an important area of unmet medical need for metabolic disease; and in line with the competition's rules, each winner has committed to undertaking research and development of their innovation in Singapore, demonstrating Johnson & Johnson Innovation's commitment to nurture the healthcare ecosystem in Singapore and in other innovation hotspots around the world.

"At Johnson & Johnson, we believe that a great idea can come from anywhere and anyone. The Singapore QuickFire Challenge reinforces our 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," said Dong Wu, Head, Asia Pacific Innovation Center, Johnson & Johnson Innovation. "Our vision has really come to life today as we announce the winners as part of Ecosystem Day at SWITCH 2017, around the powerful theme of Creating Ecosystems in Biosciences."

For more information about the QuickFire Challenges, please visit:
jlabs.jnjinnovation.com/quickfire-challenges.

[1] Wilson's disease is primarily caused by differential mutation(s) in the ATP7B gene.

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 www.jnjinnovation.com.

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS

Johnson & 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 www.jlabs.jnjinnovation.com.

Media Contact
Julien Dedman
Johnson & Johnson Innovation
+852 9022 8032
jdedman@its.jnj.com

Photo - https://photos.prnasia.com/prnh/20170922/1949178-1

 

Source: Johnson & Johnson Innovation

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