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Seoul Innovation QuickFire Challenge on Smart Surgery

Seoul Innovation QuickFire Challenge on Smart Surgery

Challenge ended

Grant funding & residency




VPIX Medical

VPIX Medical is developing cCeLL, a fluorescence confocal endomicroscope for real-time digital biopsy. cCeLL aims to enable rapid decision making for resection of cancer by reducing sampling errors, with the goal of improving patient prognosis by shortening the surgical time required by conventional frozen tissue tests.



SKIA aims to provide a digital surgery guide solution using augmented reality (AR) technology for superimposing a patient's medical images (e.g., CT or MRI) over a real-time camera view of the patient, by which surgeons can accurately locate tumor resection sites.



In recent years, technological advancements have contributed to improved pre-, intra- and post-surgical care, driven by better materials, implant designs, and surgical techniques such as robotic surgery augmented with data/analytics and emerging technologies.[1] 

Along with North America and Europe, the Asia Pacific region is considered to be at the forefront in the global image-guided and robot-assisted surgical procedures market.[2]

The potential of digitally enabled technologies is significant with unmet medical needs in the surgical pathway including precise surgeries, reduced costs to technological innovations like robotics, minimally invasive procedures, and reduced complications and shortened hospital stays.[3]  

To that end, Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Johnson & Johnson Medical Korea Ltd., in collaboration with Seoul Metropolitan Government (“SMG”) and Korea Health Industry Development Institute (“KHIDI”), are proud to launch the Seoul Innovation QuickFire Challenge on Smart Surgery. Innovators are invited to submit novel ideas with the potential to transform the surgical pathway for optimized care, cost savings, and improved patient outcomes.

The innovator(s) with the best idea or technology aiming to reimagine potential surgical pathway solutions will receive grant funding from a total of up to KRW150,000,000, residency at the Seoul Bio Hub and access to Johnson & Johnson Innovation's Asia Pacific ecosystem including a dedicated workstation for one year at JLABS @ Shanghai[4], and mentorship from experts at the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.


[1] Kerr RS. Surgery in the 2020s: Implications of advancing technology for patients and the workforce. Future Healthc J. 2020;7(1):46-49. doi:10.7861/fhj.2020-0001

[2] Image-Guided & Robot-Assisted Surgical Procedures Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Specialty Type (Gynecologic, Urologic, General, Cardiothoracic, Head & Neck) And Segment Forecasts, 2018 - 2025

[3] Global Image Guided and Robot Assisted Surgery Market –Industry Analysis and Forecast (2020-2027) _by Product (MRI Guided Robot, X-Ray Computed Tomography Guided Robot, X-Ray Mammography Guided Robot, Optical Imaging Guided Robot, Ultrasound Imaging Guide

[4] Subject to the execution of an Award and License Agreement


Up to KRW150,000,000 in grant funding
  • Residency at the Seoul Bio Hub and access to Johnson & Johnson Innovation's Asia Pacific ecosystem including a dedicated workstation for one year at JLABS @ Shanghai
  • Mentorship from experts at the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies

Areas of Interest

We encourage innovators to submit potentially ground-breaking ideas that aim to transform the surgical pathway, including but not limited to the following: 

Application Process

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

  • Potential impact
  • Uniqueness of potential solution & level of competition in current market
  • Quality & feasibility of technology
  • Team credibility & capabilities
  • Plans for utilizing the Seoul Bio Hub
  • Idea submission outlines interest in the innovation ecosystem in Seoul

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 potential solutions to patients from around the world. Working together, we can spark the next great idea that could change the trajectory of health.

This QuickFire Challenge will be the fifth in the series of annual Seoul Innovation QuickFire Challenges. The 2018 challenge, the Seoul Innovation QuickFire Challenge: Robotics & Digital Surgery awarded up to KRW 150,000,000, entrance to the Seoul Bio Hub, one year of mentorship and coaching, and access to the JLABS global entrepreneurial community to Medipixel and BiLab.


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 are the specific criteria for application?

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

  • Potential impact
  • Uniqueness of potential solution & level of competition in current market
  • Quality & feasibility of technology
  • Team credibility & capabilities
  • Plans for utilizing the Seoul Bio Hub
  • Idea submission outlines interest in the innovation ecosystem in Seoul

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.

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

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


May 21, 2021
Applications open
July 9, 2021
Submission deadline
October 7-8, 2021
Seoul Biomedical Conference Award Announcement

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation


Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC works across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer health sectors to accelerate early-stage, transformational solutions by catalyzing the best ideas, wherever they are in the world. We do this by harnessing our deep scientific capabilities coupled with a wide range of tools, including customized deal structures, company creation, incubation and startup services, capital investments and other innovative business models that aim to meet the diverse needs of entrepreneurs, scientists and emerging companies. Our goal is to help life science and health technology innovations thrive through collaboration and partnership with the global ecosystem, so that together we can change the trajectory of human health. Meet our passionate team of science and technology experts and learn how to collaborate with us at www.jnjinnovation.com.


About the Seoul Metropolitan Government


Seoul is a global city located at the center of Northeast Asia characterized by easy access to metropolitan cities around the world and convenient living conditions, with 24 subway lines, 590 subway stations, 6,068 bus stops, and 13 international schools.

Seoul is an optimal location to foster technology-oriented venture firms as it houses more than 20,000 research institutes, 88 universities, and 58 general hospitals, concentrating top-caliber workforce and technology in a single location.

The Hongneung Biomedical Cluster, home to Seoul Bio Hub, opened in October 2017, houses national research institutes (KIST, etc.), research-oriented hospitals, and universities. The Seoul Metropolitan Government offers facilities and equipment for the fast growth of technologically advanced startups and helps businesses, researchers, and businessmen develop and commercialize innovative technologies via support in investment, administration, and information services.


About Seoul Bio Hub


Seoul Bio Hub, located in northern Seoul began operations in October 2017 and is a life science innovation center sponsored by SMG and operated by KHIDI. Its key function is to support early-stage life science companies’ growth and commercialization by providing full-service wet laboratory and office spaces, shared equipment, networking events, training programs, and investor relation opportunities. As the only biotech startup platform located in Seoul, it leverages its geographical advantages to accelerate the startup ecosystem, by facilitating cooperative networks among research-driven hospitals, universities, national research institutes, and venture capital firms within close proximity. For more information, please visit http://www.seoulbiohub.kr.


About Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI)


KHIDI is a government-affiliated institution that provides professional and systems-building support aimed at developing the domestic healthcare industry and enhancing healthcare services. Since its establishment in 1999, KHIDI has led the expansion of healthcare research and development investment within the region, helping to build the competitiveness of Korea's healthcare industry across health services, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food and beauty-cosmetics. KHIDI is designated as an operating body of the Seoul Bio Hub and is leveraging its infrastructure and network to facilitate collaborations with relevant stakeholders to advance scientific innovation. For more information, please visit http://www.khidi.or.kr/eps.


한국존슨앤드존슨메디칼(Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies Korea)

한국존슨앤드존슨메디칼은 존슨앤드존슨 의료기기 부문의 한국 법인이며, 더 많은 환자를 돕고 생명을 구하는 것을 목표로 하고 있다. 혈관질환 치료기구, 수술용 봉합사, 인공관절, 여성질환 전문치료기구, 내시경 수술기구, 자동 봉합기 등 다양한 제품을 공급한다. 전 세계 보건의료 분야에 임상 및 경제적 가치를 더하기 위하여 혁신적인 신제품을 제공하고, 차별화된 마케팅 전략과 우수한 품질관리 과정을 통해 고객 만족도를 높이고 있다.


About Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies


As the world’s most comprehensive medical devices business, we are building on a century of experience, leveraging science and technology, to shape the future of health care. With unparalleled breadth, depth and reach in surgery, orthopaedics, vision and interventional solutions we are working to profoundly change the way care is delivered. We are in this for life.