Johnson & Johnson Innovation Strengthens Innovation Hubs in Asia Pacific through Singapore QuickFire Challenge – Metabolic Disease Innovation

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Asia Pacific is a region changing at a sometimes dizzying pace. Already comprising 60% of the world’s population, it is growing by some 14 million people per year.  Urbanisation is happening at a pace the world has never seen before,  allowing the equally unprecedented growth of the middle class.  Add to the mix some of the world’s most aging populations, and you have the makings for significant healthcare challenges and opportunities.

Among the biggest challenges facing Asian society is the growing pandemic of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Today, diabetes 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]. Meanwhile, obesity in China alone has risen among adults from 11.3 percent to 27.9 percent, and among individuals below age 20 from 5.7 percent to 18.8 percent between 1980 and 2013[2]. Diabetes and obesity are only two of the hundreds of imminent healthcare issues requiring breakthrough solutions.

Johnson & Johnson Innovation understands the urgency of tackling these challenges and has built up a strong on-the-ground presence at our Asia Pacific Innovation Center to identify and nurture early stage innovation across pharmaceuticals, consumer health, and medical devices. By collaborating with local partners from major innovation hubs, such as Singapore and Seoul, Johnson & Johnson Innovation has established a powerful network of innovators working together in an open innovation model to find solutions for today’s most pressing healthcare issues.

[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 

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One way Johnson & Johnson Innovation supports local innovations globally is through the launch of JLABS QuickFire Challenges. Johnson & Johnson Innovation believes that a great idea can come from anywhere, which is why these global competitions are designed to attract game-changing, early-stage innovation.

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The Launch of the JLABS Singapore QuickFire Challenge – Metabolic Disease Innovation

At last month’s 2017 BioPharma Asia Conference, Johnson & Johnson Innovation was excited to launch the Singapore QuickFire Challenge – Metabolic Disease Innovation. It was launched in partnership with A*STAR’s commercialisation arm ETPL and Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), and supported by SPRING Singapore.

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This is the first-ever QuickFire Challenge in Asia proper, and its launch demonstrates Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s commitment to strengthening Singapore as a key healthcare innovation hub in the region, and Asia Pacific at large. During this Challenge, Johnson & Johnson Innovation and its partners will work side-by-side with entrepreneurs, startups, and biotech researchers and provide a robust exchange of ideas and resources to support their success, aiming to encourage and inspire entrepreneurs from around the world to create groundbreaking solutions for metabolic diseases on a global scale.

This global competition will award the persons or team that submit the best ideas, technologies, or solutions focused on metabolic disease in the following areas:

  • Therapeutics
  • Health technologies
  • Consumer healthcare
  • Medical devices
  • Diagnostics

Rewards and benefits include:

  • SGD100,000 in project money for each winner
  • Access to ETPL laboratory space
  • One year of mentoring and coaching from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, ETPL and SMART staff

Important dates:

  • Application deadline: 17 May 2017
  • Finalists selected and mentoring begins: 5 July 2017
  • Winners announced: 19-21 September 2017

If you are passionate about advancing cures for metabolic diseases and the millions in Asia Pacific that are affected, find out more about the Singapore QuickFire Challenge – Metabolic Disease Innovation and submit your idea here.

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