fbpx Lung Cancer Innovation QuickFire Challenge - Challenge | JLABS
lung cancer

Lung Cancer Innovation QuickFire Challenge

Challenge ended

$750,000 (¥4.7M) in Grants + Residency + Mentoring

Surgical Oncology





DNX Biopharmaceuticals


DNX Bio is a biopharmaceutical company developing long-acting therapeutic proteins for the treatment of patients with life-long diseases. Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Irvine, CA, USA, DNX is pursuing the development of new therapeutic proteins utilizing a 21st century, half-life extension platform technology known as PASylation, which is in-licensed from XL-protein GmbH. XLp has granted DNX a worldwide exclusive license under its patents and know-how related to the PASylation technology to develop and commercialize several PASylated products.


Hawkeye Bio


Hawkeye Bio was launched in 2018 in California to commercialize novel, clinically validated breath analytics for the detection of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women[1]. Lung cancer often has no symptoms until it has metastasized, because there are few specialized nerves (pain receptors) in the lungs. Lung cancer is diagnosed late 84% of the time, when treatment options are more limited. Despite progress in biomarker discovery and targeted therapy, lung cancer mortality remains unacceptably high worldwide. Hawkeye’s mission is lung cancer interception to bring about a solution to this problem.


NE Scientific


NE Scientific is a Boston-based startup company developing a surgical guidance software for supporting physicians in targeting tissues during the percutaneous ablation of liver and lung tumors. The Accublate (TM) guidance software simulates in real-time the physics taking place during the ablation and determines the ablation volume in a patient-specific way. This information is generated intraoperatively and overlaid to CT images of the patient, helping the physician in achieving a complete treatment of all malignant tissues.

[1]HawkeyeBio.com, 2019

The Challenge

Image Paragraph

The average person breathes in 432 liters of oxygen every single day, a vital component in sustaining the trillions of cells in the body. Humans can survive just a few minutes without oxygen.  To that end, it is essential that we protect our lungs.  

Is there a way to cleanse the lungs after exposure to carcinogens much like a toothbrush cleanses the mouth after eating? Is there a way to shield the lungs from carcinogens much like sunscreen shields us from damaging UV exposure?  These are a few of the provocative ideas Johnson & Johnson Innovation hopes to trigger through the Lung Cancer Innovation QuickFire Challenge. 

Lung cancer is a major cause of global morbidity and mortality with approximately 1.6 million deaths globally each year.  Unlike other diseases, lung cancer is caused by prolonged environmental exposure to carcinogens that overwhelm a human’s natural defenses and result in inflammation, genomic changes and ultimately tumor growth.  Although a global epidemic, it is unclear what makes one individual over another more susceptible to developing lung cancer.  

Johnson & Johnson (China) Investment Ltd. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC are committed to prioritizing lung health.  How do we leverage the totality of science and technology to achieve comprehensive lung health -  to ultimately prevent, intercept and cure lung cancer?

Up to three innovators with the best ideas, technologies, or solutions that improves human healthcare related to preventing, intercepting or curing lung cancer will be awarded up to a total of $750,000 in grants, a voucher for one year of residency at JLABS @ Shanghai (optional), including a laboratory bench, workstation and access to the JLABS community, and mentorship from Johnson & Johnson Innovation and/or its affiliates.


Up to $750,000 (¥4,775,850) in total grants 
  • 1 year residency at JLABS @ Shanghai (Optional)
  • Mentoring & coaching from experts from Johnson & Johnson Innovation and/or its affiliates

Areas of Interest

We encourage applications from innovators working on all aspects of lung health, including solutions focused on Lung Cancer:

  • Prevention: Approaches to identify risks and for warding off onset of lung cancer
  • Interception: Arrest lung cancer as it develops, prior to clinical onset
  • Cures: Completely eliminate presence of lung cancer and reverse damage to restore full health

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.  

We are interested in applications addressing the full spectrum of lung health. Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to: 

  • To develop approaches to reduce, prevent, or protect from exposure to respiratory carcinogen, including novel approaches to smoking cessation 
  • To develop approaches to measure the exposure to and biological effect from respiratory carcinogens
  • To develop diagnostics/biomarkers to detect pre-cancers or early-stage malignant lesions
  • To develop approaches, including surgical, medical, behavioral, digital or others, to prevent or intercept lung carcinogenesis
  • To discover new tools for diagnosis and extirpation of curable lung cancers
  • To develop new treatments or treatment modalities for the cure of lung cancer

Approaches should include the following areas:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Consumer products
  • Medical devices
  • Global public health
  • Health technologies
  • Cross-sector initiatives – an integration of one or more the aforementioned areas of focus 

Application Process

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
  • Idea submission outlines interest in the innovation ecosystem in Shanghai (optional)


June 14, 2018 (China Time)
Applications Open
September 21, 2018 (China Time)
Submission Deadline
Spring 2019
Winner Announcement at JLABS @ Shanghai Launch

Apply Now

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.



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

A: 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.


Q: Is residency at JLABS @ Shanghai required?

A: No. Residency is encouraged but optional.


Q: Do I need to reside in Shanghai or a Chinese entity in order to apply?

A: No. We are seeking innovations globally.


Q: For prizes involving residency at JLABS, what does that entail and for how many people?

A: For challenges involving residency at JLABS, that entails 1 lab bench and 1 workstation (desk) for 2 people maximum. If you have more employees, additional footprint can be rented.


Q: For prizes involving residency at JLABS, are there any expenses not covered by JLABS?

A: Each applicant will be required to submit to a background check, which is subject to a minimal fee.  We also collect a deposit that is refundable at the end of the lease term. There may be other expenses, but this will be dependent on the work that the company is doing in JLABS.  There may also be fees associated with EH&S waste, specialty equipment, printing and phone calls.


Q: Will JLABS pay for my living costs, relocation or visas?

A: No, any additional fees and paperwork are up to the winner.


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

A: 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.


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

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


Q: What happens with IP (Intellectual Property)?

A: 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.


Q: Is a patent required to apply?

A: 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.


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

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


Q: Who is eligible to apply?

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


Q: What are the specific criteria for application?

A:  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
  • Idea submission outlines interest in the innovation ecosystem in Shanghai (optional)


Q: Who can I contact if I have questions about the Challenges or the application process?

A: Please contact [email protected] with any questions.


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

A: Apply at https://jlabs.jnjinnovation.com/form/lung-qfc-apply. You are able to save your work and log back in to finish at a later time if needed.

About Johnson and 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. New JLABS in NYC and Shanghai have been announced, and in February 2018, the Belgium-based JLINX incubator began transitioning into a JLABS, making this the first JLABS in Europe.  For more information about JLABS, please visit jlabs.jnjinnovation.com.

About Johnson & Johnson (China) Investment Ltd