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Bugs, Drugs, & Beyond: Translational Approaches to the Microbiome

Bugs, Drugs, & Beyond: Translational Approaches to the Microbiome

Challenge ended

Up to $75,000 USD*

East Coast Winner

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Astarte Medical is developing NICUtritionTM, a software platform to optimize feeding and nutrition and quantify gut health for preterm infants.

West Coast Winner

The Challenge

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Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS and the Janssen Human Microbiome Institute (JHMI) have launched the second Bugs, Drugs, & Beyond QuickFire Challenge.

Taking place in both San Francisco and Cambridge, the Challenge will award selected winners with a customized package of support from the JHMI and JLABS, including coaching and $75,000 in funding or entrance to the South San Francisco or Boston JLABS sites, to help advance microbiome-based human health solutions.

Rewards and benefits

Up to $75,000 USD in grant funding or entrance to the South San Francisco or Boston JLABS sites


Challenge Opens
Submission Deadline
Judging Process Begins
Live Presentations & Announcement of Winner(s) @ Bugs, Drugs, & Beyond: Translation Approached to the Microbiome - Bay Area
Live Presentations & Announcement of Winner(s) @ Bugs, Drugs, & Beyond: Translation Approached to the Microbiome - Boston

Deadline to apply is July 14, 2017

Challenge finalists will pitch at the Bugs, Drugs, & Beyond: Translational Approaches to the Microbiome event occurring in the Bay Area in September and in Boston in October. The QuickFire Challenge Winners will be announced at the event.  Applicants to the QuickFire Challenge must also register to attend the respective event.

Bugs, Drugs, & Beyond: Translational Approaches to the Microbiome Events in the Bay Area and Boston

  • Join the JHMI in San Francisco and in Boston for a one-day forum to explore the ways in which innovators from those regions and beyond are harnessing the human microbiome and advancing novel therapeutics, diagnostics, and other health products. During these events, we'll hear from entrepreneurs, academics, investors, biotech and pharma companies about a variety of product development approaches and the organizations pursuing them.  Click here for the San Francisco event, taking place on September 12 in partnership with Stanford Medicine, and click here for the Boston event, taking place on October 17, in partnership with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and PureTech Health.

Why this challenge matters to us

The microbiome represents a dramatically new frontier in medicine, providing a vast array of potential targets and mechanisms through which we may harness the body’s naturally-occurring responses to treat disease and maintain health. Join the Janssen Human Microbiome Institute, JLABS @ SSF and Stanford for a one-day forum to explore the ways in which innovators from San Francisco and beyond are harnessing the human microbiome and advancing novel therapeutics, diagnostics and other health products.

Application process

Solutions will be evaluated based on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Potential to impact healthcare outcomes / move the needle on medical safety
  • Uniqueness of solution & level of competition in current market
  • Quality & feasibility of technology
  • Team credibility & capabilities
  • Clarity of plan: Milestones & defined go/no go decisions

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Johnson & Johnson Innovation 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, Johnson & Johnson Innovation | JLABS, Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLINX, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC and our Business Development teams to create customized deals and novel 4 collaborations that speed development of innovations to solve unmet needs in patients. For more information, visit www.jnjinnovation.com or follow @JNJInnovation.

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.

About Janssen Human Microbiome Institute (JHMI)

At the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, we are working to create a world without disease. Transforming lives by finding new and better ways to prevent, intercept, treat and cure disease inspires us. We bring together the best minds and pursue the most promising science. We are Janssen. We collaborate with the world for the health of everyone in it. Learn more at www.janssen.com. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JanssenGlobal. Learn more about the JHMI at www.janssen.com/human-microbiome-institute.


JLABS @ South San Francisco opened March 3, 2015 and can accommodate up to 50 independent, emerging companies. This marks the second expansion in the Bay Area market. Like the successful flagship JLABS in San Diego, JLABS @ South San Francisco includes a combination of shared and private lab and office spaces and features value-added solutions including operational support, education and business services.

About JLABS @ LabCentral

Johnson & Johnson Innovation established JLABS at the LabCentral facility in the Kendall Square biotech hub. JLABS @ LabCentral marks the first East Coast expansion for JLABS, which will operate with the same open-innovation, no-strings attached approach as it does at all other JLABS locations. As a Founding Sponsor of LabCentral, Johnson & Johnson Innovation selects high-potential innovators for the shared-laboratory space who are focused on promising science that addresses important unmet medical needs. LabCentral is a nonprofit organization, designed to be a “one-stop-shop,” offering premier, fully equipped laboratory space, plus the infrastructure and support that emerging life sciences companies need to transition from a science/technology-focus to a successful commercial-stage enterprise. As part of this agreement, Johnson & Johnson Innovation also has an on-site office to facilitate collaboration with other start-ups located at LabCentral.

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