Next-Gen Baby Box Quickfire Challenge
Central to our world without disease vision is the idea that, with rapid advances in technology and science, we are better positioned to disrupt disease processes earlier and maintain health and wellness for the long-term. Ben Wiegand, Global Head, World Without Disease Accelerator, shares how the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Innovation and public sector partners in Finland are collaborating with the world to create the “Baby Box of the future” to promote child health and detect childhood disease at an earlier time.
Nearly 80 years ago, the Finnish government made an investment in its future. It began a program intended to give every Finnish child an equal start in life through the simple gift of a cardboard box filled with such newborn necessities as clothing, diapers, a sleep bag, and a small mattress intended to convert the box into a baby’s first bed. In order to receive the box, an expectant mother would just need to visit a doctor or pre-natal clinic before their fourth month of pregnancy. Over the years, the contents have evolved to reflect the needs and health priorities of the times and the continued investment has revolutionized early childhood care in Finland, a country with one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.
At Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, we’re inspired by this Finnish legacy, and driven to look to the future in promoting child health and the well-being of parents. Today, more than ever before, the convergence of life sciences and digital technology makes it possible to transform the health care model from disease care to health care and target the root cause and progression of diseases both at the start of and throughout life. Empowered by these advances, we are working to enable a future without disease.
With a shared vision to improve health today and for future generations of children and families, we, in collaboration with Sitra, a Finnish Innovation Fund; Tekes, a Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation; and VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland, have launched the Next-Gen Baby Box QuickFire Challenge to help transform childcare as we now know it. We’re calling for ideas and innovations from various stakeholders in the scientific community – entrepreneurs, researchers, start-ups, tech – to create the “Baby Box of the future” in an effort to promote child health, detect disease earlier and facilitate healthy parenting. We’re seeking the best science and the brightest minds – wherever they may be located – and the latest in digital technology to help us disrupt the existing health paradigm by shifting from a model of diagnose and treat to one of predict and preempt.
Select finalists will receive funding, structured mentorship, and the opportunity to pitch their ideas at the world’s leading start-up and tech event in Finland later this year. Winner(s) may be offered a contractual collaboration to develop their science/technology with the goal of piloting in Finland over the next 1-2 years and, contingent upon success of their study – may also receive additional funding to support commercialization.
We imagine a time when widespread disease is a historical artifact; where all people live healthier lives promoted by technological and medical advances, and life sciences companies can effectively prevent, intercept and cure disease. Our vision is a world without disease and we believe the “Baby Box of the future” could help pave the way – but not without you. Apply now to join the journey and help us nurture child health for the future.