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Carcinogenic Exposure Meter Quickfire Challenge

Carcinogenic Exposure Meter Quickfire Challenge

Challenge ended

Up to $250,000 Mentoring



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The Challenge


The use of tobacco claimed more than 100 million lives in the 20th centuryand is expected to claim another billion during the 21st century.  According to the New York Times, millions of dollars are spent educating the public on the devastating effects of the habit. Yet, millions of people, including 3200 youths and adolescents in the United States, make the choice to start smoking every day.

Cigarettes release more than 7,000 chemicals when burned, of which at least 69 are known to cause cancer according to Lung.org.  This deadly cocktail of chemicals contributes to more than six million deaths each year, translating to one smoking-related death every five seconds. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, linked to about 80% to 90% of lung cancers in the United States.

Preventing tobacco use among the youth is critical to ending the world-wide tobacco epidemic. Yet, billions of smokers choose not to heed statistical warnings. They maintain a habit, which will reduce their life expectancy by at least 10 years on average. Would that change, however, if we could measure the effect of carcinogens in real time? Is a smoker more likely to quit when they can quantify the damage they are causing to their body? Much like stepping on a scale can help improve weight loss, could a carcinogenic exposure meter be a key smoking cessation tool?

To that end, Janssen Research & Development, LLC and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS are launching the Carcinogenic Exposure Meter QuickFire Challenge, aimed to help foster innovation that can measure the impact of cigarettes with the goal of reducing tobacco use by motivating young smokers to quit smoking. Innovators from across the world are invited to develop “carcinogenic exposure meters” to better quantify the damage known to play a role in carcinogenesis resulting from exposure to tobacco.

[1] Jha P. et al. Chapter 10 of: Cancer: Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition (Volume 3) (2015).
[2] Center for Disease Control and Prevention;
[3] WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2017. Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies.
[4] USA Today


Up to $250,000 in grants
  • Mentoring from experts at Johnson & Johnson Innovation


We are looking for proposals that develop approaches and/or devices to measure damage known to play a role in carcinogenesis resulting from exposure to tobacco smoke, using minimally invasive sampling methods, preferably at points of care.

The desired biological effect to be measured would reflect a combination of the degree of exposure and the degree of susceptibility. Damage markers should be recognized as playing a role in carcinogenesis. Ideally, smoking cessation should result in return to normal non-smoking levels of the damage marker.

Proposals containing the following criteria are preferred but are not required. Please keep in mind that no idea is too big or too early for consideration. Applications that clearly describe a concept or path forward to achieve these goals will also be considered during evaluation. 

The Carcinogenic Exposure Meter should:

  • Be minimally invasive with the ability to use for sampling at various points of care.
  • Distinguish between average environmental exposure and effects from tobacco.
  • Include clinical data from human studies. If unavailable, applicants are encouraged to provide a detail path forward to proof-of-concept.

Areas of Interest

  • Consumer products
  • In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) Medical devices
  • Health technologies
  • Cross-sector initiatives – an integration of one or more the aforementioned areas of focus


August 23, 2018
Applications Open
October 26, 2018
December 2018
Finalist Presentations
Q1 2019 (TBD)
Winner Announced

Application process

Solutions will be evaluated by a panel of reviewers and judges on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Potential to impact healthcare outcomes in a strategic area of interest
  • 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

Apply Now

Submit your idea today!

Don’t miss the deadline

Why this challenge matters to us

We believe a good idea can come from anywhere, and it’s our goal to find new and innovative technologies that provide solutions to patients from across the world. Working together, we can spark the next great idea that will change the trajectory of health.


What if I’m having trouble accessing the portal/website?

Make sure your browser is up to date and accepting cookies. You can contact customer service at https://jnjawards.fluidreview.com/helpdesk/contact/ if you are having technical difficulties as well.

Can I submit supporting documents (for example a video) as part of my application?

You will have the opportunity and are encouraged to upload supporting materials such as slide decks, research papers, and videos as part of your application. You may submit a video along with your typed responses. Maximum length is 2 minutes.

Is it ok if some of the information I submit is confidential?

Do not submit confidential information. Only non-confidential information should be submitted and anything you submit will be treated as non-confidential.

What happens with IP (Intellectual Property)?

As this is a no strings attached arrangement, JLABS does not acquire any IP.  Any IP creation and/or protection remains the sole responsibility of the inventors.

Is a patent required to apply?

No, a patent is not required to apply.  However, you should not submit any information that you wish to keep confidential or that may negatively impact upon the future patentability of your invention.

What kind of science / technology is appropriate for the Challenges?

We encourage all to apply. Find out more about what areas we desire to explore here: https://www.jnjinnovation.com/partnering

Who is eligible to apply?

Each Challenge has its own terms & conditions that can be found prior to filling out the application.

What are the specific criteria for application?

Solutions will be evaluated by a panel of reviewers and judges on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Potential impact
  • Uniqueness of solution & level of competition in current market
  • Quality & feasibility of technology
  • Team credibility & capabilities
  • Clear Plan & Milestones

Who can I contact if I have questions about the Challenge or the application process?

Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

Where do I apply? And do I have to complete the application in one sitting?

You can setup an account at http://jnjawards.fluidreview.com. You are able to save your work and log back in to finish at a later time if needed.

About the Janssen Pharmaceutical, Companies of Johnson & Johnson



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 at @JanssenGlobal.


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 locations in innovation hot spots across the world 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 in NYC in collaboration with the New York Genome Center. Recently, the Belgium-based JLINX incubator began transitioning into a JLABS, making this the first JLABS in Europe and JLABS @ Shanghai will open in 2019.  For more information about JLABS, please visit www.jlabs.jnjinnovation.com.


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, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS (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, visit www.jnjinnovation.com or follow @JNJInnovation.