Each year in the United States, an estimated 4,500 new patients are diagnosed with AL amyloidosis, a life-threatening blood cell disorder that occurs when blood plasma cells in the bone marrow produce amyloid deposits, which build up in vital organs and eventually cause organ deterioration. The disease can affect different organs in different people, but the most frequently affected organs are the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, gastrointestinal tract and nervous system. Further complicating treatment for the disease, almost one-third of patients with AL amyloidosis will visit five or more physicians before being diagnosed, and nearly three-quarters are diagnosed over a year after initial symptoms occur. This can lead to a poor prognosis due to the delay in diagnosis of AL amyloidosis, which frequently presents with non-specific symptoms that can mimic other, more common conditions. As many as 30 percent of patients with AL amyloidosis die within the first year after diagnosis.
To that end, Johnson & Johnson Innovation together with Janssen Global Services invites innovators to submit ideas aimed at optimizing AL amyloidosis disease detection and early diagnosis in the Improving DEtection of AL Amyloidosis (IDEA) QuickFire Challenge. Multiple awardees with the best products, technologies, or methodologies will receive grant funding in increments up to $250,000, $150,000, and $50,000, access to the Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS ecosystem, and mentorship* from experts at the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.
*As appropriate by expertise and/or regulatory considerations
 Lousada I, Comenzo RL, Landau H, et al. Light chain amyloidosis: patient experience survey from the Amyloidosis Research Consortium. Advances in Therapy. 2015;32(10):920-928.
 McCausland KL, et al. Patient. 2018;11(2):207-216.
 Mayo Clinic. Amyloidosis diagnosis and treatment. https://mayocl.in/3jK50G4. Accessed January 2021.
 Merlini G, et al. Light chain amyloidosis: the heart of the problem. Haematologica. 2013;98(10):1492-1495.
Why this Challenge Matters
In AL amyloidosis, plasma cells in the bone marrow produce abnormal light chains that form amyloid deposits, which build up in vital organs and eventually cause organ deterioration. AL amyloidosis can affect different organs in different people, but the most frequently affected organs are the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, GI tract and nervous system.
Still a rare condition, diagnosis of AL amyloidosis can be delayed and symptoms may be non-specific, resulting in misdiagnosis.
Knowledge and expertise in how to measure and assess symptoms commonly seen in this population can be critical for timely diagnosis, as well as improving access to diagnostic tools and innovating the application of AI and EMR-based interventions to improve detection.
At Johnson & Johnson Innovation, we believe a good idea can come from anywhere, and it’s our goal to find new and innovative technologies that aim to provide potential solutions to patients from around the world. Working together, we can spark the next great idea that could change the trajectory of health.
 Baker KR, Rice L. The Amyloidoses: clinical features, diagnosis and treatment. Methodist Debakey Cardiovasc J. 2012;8(3):3-7. doi:10.14797/mdcj-8-3-3
Areas of Interest
We’re interested in products, technologies, or methodologies, which may be translational or clinical in nature.
We encourage applications from visionaries – including entrepreneurs/startups, hematologists, cardiologists, radiologists, and nephrologists familiar with AL amyloidosis, basic science researchers, and patient advocates - working on potentially ground-breaking ideas or technologies in AL amyloidosis that aim to:
- Increase awareness of disease symptoms and improve recognition of disease among HCPs
- Improve identification/testing of patients
- Develop blood test/biomarkers for AL amyloidosis
- Develop nuclear medicine imaging with amyloid-specific tracers
- Create AI-based screening tools
- Facilitate EMR-based research
- Produce Epidemiology studies
- Multiple grants in increments up to $250,000, $150,000, and $50,000
- Access to the Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS ecosystem
- Mentorship from experts of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies
Potential solutions will be evaluated by a panel of reviewers and judges on their ability to meet the following criteria:
- Technology/Research Concept and Focus on AL Amyloidosis
- Team Quality & Capabilities
- Degree of Innovation & Uniqueness
- Market/Research Validation
- Level of Feasibility
- Resources & Milestone
- Plans for use of Funds
- Scalability (ability to translate to other areas outside of their practice)
- Considerations of accessibility across socioeconomic groups
- Ability to Deploy
Submit your idea today!
What if I’m having trouble accessing the portal/website?
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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 two 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 applications from entrepreneurs, innovators, hematologists, cardiologists, radiologists, nephrologists, basic science researchers and patient advocates working with technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), EMR-based research, and beyond to develop potentially ground-breaking ideas aimed at optimizing AL amyloidosis disease detection and early diagnosis.
Who is eligible to apply?
Each Challenge has its own terms & conditions that can be found prior to filling out the application.
Do applicants have to reside in the United States in order to apply?
No, this is a global challenge.
Who can I contact if I have questions about the Challenges 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?
Go to https://jnjquickfire.secure-platform.com to learn more. From there you will be directed to set up an account. 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 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.
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; 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. JLABS provides the laboratories, expertise, education, tools and resources needed to help life science startups thrive, all with no strings attached. A Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center (CDI @ TMC) has been established to accelerate the development of medical devices. For more information about Johnson & Johnson Innovation, 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 across a broad healthcare spectrum including pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and health tech sectors 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 also produces campaigns to seek out the best science called QuickFire Challenges. For more information, visit www.jlabs.jnjinnovation.com or follow @JLABS.