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Johnson & Johnson Innovation QuickFire Challenge

Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC, together with Janssen Research & Development LLC, is launching the Immunology Innovations QuickFire Challenge. Innovators with transformative potential solutions to help or aim to advance precision medicine approaches in immune-mediated disease are invited to apply.

Specific disease areas of focus for this challenge include gastroenterology, rheumatology, dermatology, fetal-maternal diseases, autoantibody-mediated diseases, and other immune-mediated diseases where a stratified approach has the potential to be transformational for patients.

The innovator(s) with the best idea, therapy or technology, or novel approach will receive up to a total of $500,000 in grant funding, access to the global Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS (‘JLABS’) network and mentorship from experts across the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.

  • Deadline: January 14, 2022
  • More information on the J&J website.

b-Propellor Proteins Discovery Opportunity

The AdvanTx team recently learned that certain commercial parties are strategically focused on pioneering the discovery of new medicines targeting b-propellor proteins. This protein target class contains over 500 members with a conserved propellor-like fold which are known to serve as structural scaffolds mediating interactions with proteins, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules. Further, members of this protein family play a functional role in a diverse set of cellular processes, including protein homeostasis, DNA repair, and cell cycle signaling. Certain drug discovery entities are specifically interested in exploring collaborations involving b-propellors of high scientific and clinical interest.

The AdvanTx team are contacting UNC researchers to determine if there are specific research labs that are actively investigating specific members of this protein target class. A list of specific high-interest b-propellor genes/proteins is available.

  • We encourage any UNC researcher working on gene/proteins on this list, or in the J&J opportunity, to contact the AdvanTx team ( to discuss the project and potential avenues to collaborate and/or progress the project.

Past Opportunities

BioMarin RFP

BioMarin, a world leader in developing and commercializing first-in-class and best-in-class innovative biopharmaceuticals for rare diseases driven by genetic causes, is inviting scientists to submit short proposals to join our efforts in advancing treatments for rare diseases.

BioMarin is looking for scientists who are developing innovative therapeutic approaches and enabling technologies that correct the underlying molecular defect in genetic-based rare diseases.

Centers For Therapeutic Innovation (CTI)

CTI collaborates with academic institutions and investigators to push forward great science, using the depth and breadth of the Pfizer enterprise to accelerate concepts into viable therapies with breakthrough potential for patients.

Seeking proposals for novel therapeutic targets with application across Pfizer’s core therapeutic areas.

Merck 2021 Research Grants

The Research Grants program is open to scientists in all career stages who are affiliated with any research-based institution, university or company. Applicants submit their application for the focus topics containing non-confidential information only. You may apply for more than one grant or submit your application for more than one focus topic. If your application is successful, you are invited to submit a full proposal under confidentiality and join a deep-dive workshop with the other finalists. All applicants will be informed about the decision of the selection committee at the beginning of October.

2021 Future Insight Prize

The Future Insight Prize, sponsored by Merck, honors and enables outstanding achievements in science and technology towards groundbreaking innovation important for the future of humanity in the areas of health, nutrition, and energy with a research grant of up to 1 million euros.

Ono Pharma Foundation

Ono Pharma Foundation carries out the Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program (“Ono Initiative”), a competitive awards program to support scientific research projects throughout the United States. Ono initiative is the embodiment of our commitment to accelerate open innovation by supporting high-risk and high-reward science research projects, which have potential to lead to science discoveries/solutions and, possible, based on further research, to breakthrough treatments for patients.

Three Awards are planned for the fifth year (2021). It is expected that funds will be available in subsequent years, but the funding and the amounts will be dependent on annual appropriations.