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Johnson & Johnson Innovation announces winners of the Advance Queensland - Johnson & Johnson Innovation QuickFire Challenge

Johnson & Johnson Innovation announces winners of the Advance Queensland - Johnson & Johnson Innovation QuickFire Challenge at the official opening of its new Partnering Office @ QUT
Jun 15, 2016
  • Three winners in the Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Consumer Health sectors, each awarded AUD $100,000 to further research.
  • Winners to use prize money to develop research in Queensland.
  • Official opening of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @ QUT.

JUNE   15th   2016,   BRISBANE,   AUSTRALIA.  Johnson   &   Johnson   Innovation,   in collaboration with the Queensland State Government, today announced the winners of the inaugural Advance Queensland - Johnson & Johnson Innovation QuickFire Challenge. The announcement was made as part of the official opening of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @ QUT, an initiative which aims to improve access to global health and medical innovation in Queensland – and beyond.

The winning entries include a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, an early-warning device to detect heart damage, and a novel method to treat gum disease.

In announcing the winners, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “For the winners, there is now this excellent opportunity to translate their ideas and research into commercially viable products. Ultimately, the big winner from this will be patients, if the companies can get what they have to market. Winning the QuickFire Challenge has certainly put them in a strong position to achieve this.”

The Advance Queensland Johnson & Johnson Innovation QuickFire Challenge was launched in September 2015 as part of the Queensland Government’s $180 million Advance Queensland Initiative to support greater innovation, develop a knowledge-based economy and provide jobs now and for the future. The competition was open to any individual, academic, entrepreneur or company from around the world, with a novel and transformational human healthcare innovation in either the pharmaceutical, medical device or consumer health space.

The global competition was managed by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS - a no-strings attached, resource-rich incubator for life science companies.

Each of the winning entries seeks to address an important area of unmet medical need; and in line with the competition’s guidelines, each winner has committed to undertaking research and development of their innovation in Queensland.

“We want to congratulate the three winners of the inaugural Advance Queensland - Johnson & Johnson Innovation QuickFire Challenge,” said Kathy Connell, Director of New Ventures Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), for Johnson & Johnson Innovation, which is affiliated with Janssen ANZ (Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd).

“The quality of the research proposals from not only the winners, but all 12 finalists truly demonstrates that innovation can come from anywhere – and anyone. The finalists represented a diverse group of emerging entrepreneurs, each with a commitment to improving the lives of Australians and addressing important areas of unmet medical need. We look forward to watching the winners as they now start their journey from research concept to potential product development, right here in Queensland,” said Ms Connell.

The winners of each category were:

  • Pharmaceuticals: Taiwan-based Golden Biotechnology Corporation aims to conduct pre-clinical testing of a chemical compound called antroquinonol, which offers potential as a possible treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Derived from a mushroom commonly used in Chinese traditional medicine, antroquinonol has the possibility of tackling one of the biggest challenges in treating Alzheimer’s – crossing the blood-brain barrier. The company will use the prize money to prepare the groundwork for a pilot study of the compound with early-stage Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Medical Devices: Sydney-based Atomo Diagnostics hopes to develop a prototype device for the early detection of heart damage, which is crucial to saving patients’ lives. The device is based on Atomo Diagnostics' existing point-of-care technology and will utilise cardiac markers developed by Brisbane-based Anteo Technologies. The proposed technology offers up the possibility of providing an easy-to-use, accurate and rapid low- cost diagnostic test, with the potential to offer an affordable and widely deployable alternative to expensive hardware systems.
  • Consumer Health: Using nanotechnology, Melbourne-based Eikonic R&D Pty Ltd has identified a chemical compound that targets the class of bacteria responsible for gum disease and tooth decay. The company is hopeful that it can develop a potential preventive topical application that can be applied daily and is easy to use, avoiding the need for complex, costly and invasive conventional procedures.

Each of the QuickFire Challenge winners was formally recognised at the official opening of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @ QUT. The Partnering Office @ QUT represents the importance of collaboration between government, academia and industry to benefit Australian life sciences.

We  are  extremely  excited  to  be  officially  launching  the  Johnson  &  Johnson  Innovation Partnering Office @ QUT,” said Ms Connell. 

“This new Office provides Johnson & Johnson Innovation with a strong platform to identify and nurture life science research collaborations. It will also facilitate access for academics, entrepreneurs and other early-stage innovators in Queensland and beyond to valuable knowledge exchange, scouting programs, and scientific, regulatory and commercialisation expertise from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.”

“The relationship between governments, academia and industry is vital in supporting and advancing health and medical innovation in Queensland and Australia. By fostering innovation through collaboration, we can continue to strengthen the life sciences ecosystem in the region and ultimately provide greater access to health and medical innovation for people around the world,” Ms Connell added.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) of Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Professor Arun Sharma, echoed these sentiments, saying: “The opening of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @ QUT is an important milestone in the development of Queensland’s life sciences industry. This collaboration, and the investment in the Partnering Office, demonstrates Johnson & Johnson’s faith in the life sciences ecosystem in Queensland, as well as in the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland initiatives.”

The new Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @ QUT is located at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at QUT’s Kelvin Grove campus.

The official opening of the Partnering Office @ QUT also provides an opportunity to announce a number of new initiatives and partnerships Johnson & Johnson Innovation has recently undertaken locally.

Johnson & Johnson Innovation has already facilitated some major collaborations in the region:

  • Janssen Biotech, Inc. entered into a collaboration with QUT to seek a potential personalised treatment for the debilitating arthritic condition ankylosing spondylitis, along with other auto-immune diseases.
  • Janssen Biotech Inc. entered into a research collaboration with QUT focused on the potential identification of oral cancer through a saliva screen test.
  • Janssen Pharmaceutical, Inc. entered into a collaboration with Vaxxas to investigate the use of Vaxxas’ Nanopatch technology for vaccine delivery.

All deals were facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

“At Johnson & Johnson Innovation, we seek to find the best science and technology, no matter where it is located, to solve the greatest unmet medical and healthcare needs of our time. Australia has become an important country for us globally in advancing health and medical innovation, so this is a very exciting time to be involved with the life sciences industry,” Ms Connell concluded.

Media Contacts: 

- Julien Dedman; [email protected]; M:+ 852 9022 8032

- Tania Jayesuria; [email protected]; M: +61 404 094 744



About Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Johnson & Johnson Innovation is working to accelerate scientific innovation at all stages of development worldwide to deliver cutting-edge solutions that solve unmet needs for patients. Johnson & Johnson Innovation provides scientists, entrepreneurs and emerging companies with one-stop access to the broad resources of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies across the Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Consumer healthcare segments. This includes access to dealmakers, through the innovation centers located in global life science hot spots and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Janssen Business Development; venture investment, through Johnson & Johnson Innovation-JJDC, Inc.; company incubation, through Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS; as well as R&D, manufacturing and commercialisation expertise across all three segments. For more information, visit or follow @JNJInnovation.
About the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in Australia
The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in Australia’s product profile spans medical devices, consumer and pharmaceuticals. Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices (Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty Ltd) is the largest medical device provider in Australia. Our innovative products and solutions are used primarily by healthcare professionals in the fields of general and plastic surgery, orthopedics, neurology, bariatric surgery, infection prevention, urology, gynecology, sports medicine and cardiovascular disease. Johnson & Johnson Consumer (Johnson & Johnson Pacific Pty Ltd) is the largest over the counter supplier to retail pharmacies in Australia, serving over 4,500 community pharmacies and one of the top five health and beauty suppliers to Australian groceries. Our products are found in 7 out of every 10 Australian households. Janssen Australia and New Zealand (Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd) is a leading research-based pharmaceutical company. Our focus is on addressing and solving the most important unmet medical needs of our time to improve the lives of patients in immunology, oncology, neuroscience, and infectious diseases. In Australia, Johnson & Johnson Innovation is represented by Janssen Australia and New Zealand.