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Pill Protect

Pill Protect QuickFire Challenge: Designing for Medication Safety

Challenge ended

Up to $100,000 in grant funding



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Gatekeeper Innovation

Gatekeeper Innovation is aiming to improve medication storage by developing two redesigned pill minders that seek to be more cost-effective, user-friendly, and child resistant. The company is aiming to prevent accidental medicine poisoning in children under the age of six with the introduction of its Rx Locking pill minder to promote safer medicine storage in the home.



Keeping kids safe at home is more important than ever – including safely storing medicines. Especially, as many families are living a new normal with children spending more time at home due to the pandemic.

Every hour in the United States, 5 children under age 6 are rushed to emergency departments for medication poisonings, many due to unsafe storage practices. There has been a 142% increase in prescribed medications over the past two decades. At the same time, an aging population and drastic increase in three-generation households, kids living with their parents and grandparents, are likely contributing to approximately 200,000 children visiting emergency departments each year due to adverse drug events.

Pill minders must be accessible and user-friendly, especially when taking into consideration challenges such as arthritic patients, while at the same time safeguarding their contents, as much as possible, from vulnerable children.

An analysis of current pill minders revealed that none were designated as child resistant and the majority did not have important safety information including that the device should be stored out of the reach of children.

To inspire innovators to tackle this safety risk, Johnson & Johnson Innovation together with Johnson & Johnson’s Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO) and Scientific Education and Patient Advocacy (SEPA), in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention PROTECT Initiative, is proud to introduce the Pill Protect QuickFire Challenge: Designing for Medication Safety. We invite visionaries to submit ideas aiming to prevent or reduce the accidental accessing by children of medications in pill minders, pill organizers or pill dispensers.

The innovator(s) with the best idea, potential technology, or potential solution will receive up to $100,000 in grant funding, access to the global JLABS network and mentorship from experts at the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.

Including Judges From

American Academy of Pediatrics


Up to $100,000 in grant funding
  • Access to the global JLABS network
  • Mentorship by the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies

Areas of Interest

We encourage innovators to submit potentially ground-breaking ideas in:

  1. Enhanced technologies and designs aimed to protect children from accessing medicine which do not compromise the appropriate accessibility by adults.
  2. Redesigned pill minders with the potential to improve medication storage, proper usage, and encourage patient compliance

Priority will be given to potential innovations backed by data. Applications that clearly describe a concept or path forward to achieve these goals will also be considered during evaluation. Please keep in mind that no idea is too big or too early for consideration.

Application process

The submitted potential solution must either be pioneering or evidence based.

Submitted ideas must meet at least three of the below criteria:

  • Actionable – is the project achievable?
  • Measurable in terms of health impact
  • Filling a current data gap
  • Proven sustainability or strong rationale for a sustainable business model
  • Scalable

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 innovative health solutions that aim to improve health around the world. We know that despite parents’ and caregivers’ best efforts at preventing accidental unsupervised ingestions they occur and children self-accessing pill minders, pill organizers and pill dispensers is a well-documented root cause. Working together, we can spark the next great idea that can potentially change the trajectory of health for children around the world.


Applications Open: October 19, 2020
Application Deadline: January 29, 2021
Awardee announcement: Spring 2021

Apply Now!

Don’t miss the deadline

About Johnson & Johnson Office of the Chief Medical Officer

The Johnson & Johnson Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO) is an internal global team of medical and scientific professionals, including safety experts, from all three sectors of Johnson & Johnson. Functionally independent from commercial or R&D interests, the OCMO is focused on the safety of products through people-driven processes, initiatives and policies that are reinforced by a single medical safety standard. Established in 2013, the OCMO also works to advance evidence and science-based decision-making that is driven by bioethical principles and values.

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; 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.


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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 or proprietary to a third party?

Do not submit confidential information or information proprietary to a third party. 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, which you need to accept prior to applying.

What are the specific criteria for application?

We encourage innovators to submit potentially ground-breaking ideas in:

  1. Enhanced technologies and designs to protect children from accessing medicine.
  2. Redesigned pill minders with the potential to improve medication storage, proper usage, and patient adherence.

Priority will be given to potential innovations backed by data. Applications that clearly describe a concept or path forward to achieve these goals will also be considered during evaluation. Please keep in mind that no idea is too big or too early for consideration.

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?

Go to https://jnjquickfire.secure-platform.com/ to learn more. From there you will be directed to set up an account.