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Invisible Shield QuickFire Challenge

Invisible Shield QuickFire Challenge

Challenge ended

Up to $200,000 in funding


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Univ. of Michigan/Taza Aya

Taza Aya specializes in non-thermal plasmas used to sterilize or deodorize ventilation air across a range of industries and applications.


Respiratory pathogens are everywhere. While they cannot be seen, they can massively impact individuals and communities. How can we better protect ourselves against these invisible threats? The solution may be an “invisible shield.” The future of pathogen protection can go beyond traditional respiratory devices, to integrate seamlessly into our daily lives, becoming an “invisible shield” against disease.

As a follow-up to the Reimagining Respiratory Protection QuickFire Challenge, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS, working with Janssen Research & Development, LLC, are proud to introduce the Invisible Shield QuickFire Challenge. Innovators are invited to submit ideas for potential solutions that repel and protect against airborne viruses while integrating seamlessly into everyday life.

The innovator(s) with the best idea will be awarded up to $200,000 in funding from BARDA, access to the Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS ecosystem, and support in developing their ideas from BARDA for one year, to support health security products and technologies in biotechnology, life science research, and medical innovations as they navigate research, development, and regulatory pathways.

Rewards and Benefits

Up to $200,000 in funding from BARDA
  • Up to two innovators will be awarded up to $200,000 in funding from BARDA
  • Mentorship from BARDA and experts within the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies for one year
  • Access to the Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS ecosystem

What we're looking for

This Challenge seeks potential solutions that have an intended use to provide protection for individuals and communities from respiratory pathogens, including airborne viruses. Proposed technologies that solely provide protection against industrial or environmental factors, particularly air pollution, will not be considered in this Challenge.

Proposals containing or describing a path forward to meet any of the following criteria are preferred but 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 ideal potential solution would have the following characteristics:

  • Suitable for all populations and ages
  • Effective in preventing infection
  • Unobtrusive
  • Easily integrates into daily life
  • Simple, requires no special instructions
  • Safe, non-toxic to humans and animal life
  • Inexpensive or low cost per use

Application process

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

  • Novelty
  • Potential Impact
  • Feasibility/Practicality
  • Quality of Team and Resources
  • Plan for use of funds
  • Clarity of plan: Milestones & defined go/no go decisions

Why this Challenge matters to us

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 solutions to patients from across the world. Working together, we can spark the next great idea that can potentially 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 [email protected] 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 criteria will be used to evaluate an application?

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

  • Uniqueness of the idea
  • Potential impact on human health
  • Identification of key resources and plan to further idea

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

Please contact [email protected] with any questions.


October 15,2019
Applications Open
March 20, 2020
Application Deadline
Awardee announcement


The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, was established to aid in securing our nation from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats, as well as from pandemic influenza (PI) and emerging infectious diseases (EID). BARDA supports the transition of medical countermeasures such as vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and devices from research through advanced development towards consideration for approval by the FDA and inclusion into the Strategic National Stockpile. BARDA’s support includes funding, technical assistance, and core services. To date, BARDA has supported 50 FDA approvals for 45 unique products addressing CBRN, PI, and EID threats.

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

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 InnovationJLABS (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