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Announcing the Maternal-fetal Immune Disorders QuickFire Challenge: Innovating for Health Equity

March 8, 2022 -
2 months ago
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March 8, 2022 – Johnson & Johnson Innovation, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO) Health of Women team, together with Janssen Research & Development, is proud to announce the launch of the Maternal-fetal Immune Disorders QuickFire Challenge: Innovating for Health Equity. US-based innovators are invited to submit data-driven research methodologies, tools, or technologies that aim to better understand the manifestations of immune-mediated diseases of pregnancy impacting historically marginalized communities. Potential solutions should inform or catalyze the crucial next steps needed to develop diagnostics and novel therapies aiming to improve immune-mediated pregnancy outcomes in mothers and children from BIPOC communities.

In the United States, significant racial and ethnic inequities in maternal morbidity and mortality exist, with Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women being two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.[14] A 2022 report found that the number of maternal deaths rose 14% during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Black women and birthing people accounting for one-third of those deaths despite making up just over 13% of the population.[15] In 2020, Hispanic women and birthing people experienced severe maternal morbidity at a rate that was 33% higher than their white counterparts.[16]

Contributing to these complications are immune-mediated diseases,[17] which disproportionately affect women and birthing people and often occur during child-bearing years. Further, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) are more severely impacted by immune-mediated diseases, often experiencing greater disease severity and faster disease progression than white Americans.[18] These diseases put women and birthing people, particularly people of color, at risk for not only pregnancy complications, but potential disease flares that could lead to poor health outcomes for the mother and child.[19]

The innovator(s) with the best potential solution can receive grant funding from a total pool of $500,000, access to the global Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS network and mentorship from experts at the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.*

Apply at http://jji.jnj/maternal-fetal by June 3, 2022.

The QuickFire Challenges are managed by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, with the goal to help address today’s greatest health care challenges.

* Subject to the execution of the necessary documentation and (award) agreements.

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 the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

At Janssen, we’re creating a future where disease is a thing of the past. We’re the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, working tirelessly to make that future a reality for patients everywhere by fighting sickness with science, improving access with ingenuity, and healing hopelessness with heart. We focus on areas of medicine where we can make the biggest difference: Cardiovascular & Metabolism, Immunology, Infectious Diseases & Vaccines, Neuroscience, Oncology, and Pulmonary Hypertension.


[14] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, September 6). Racial and ethnic disparities continue in pregnancy-related deaths. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0905-racial-ethnic-disparities-pregnancy-deaths.html

[15] Rabin, R. C. (2022, February 23). Maternal deaths rose during the first year of the pandemic. The New York Times, from http://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/health/maternal-deaths-pandemic.html

[16] Racial disparities in maternal health. Blue Cross Blue Shield, from https://www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america/reports/racial-disparities-in-maternal-health

[17] Fairweather, D. and N.R. Rose, Women and autoimmune diseases. Emerging infectious diseases, 2004. 10(11): p. 2005.

[18] Keck School News. Keck School of Medicine of USC, from https://keck.usc.edu/health-disparities-and-inequities-impact-black-and-latino-americans-with-autoimmune-diseases-says-new-usc-study

[19] https://keck.usc.edu/health-disparities-and-inequities-impact-black-and-latino-americans-with-autoimmune-diseases-says-new-usc-study

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