Flaviviruses are vector-borne RNA viruses that can potentially cause a variety of severe diseases in humans, impacting an estimated 400 million people annually. Flaviviruses are often carried by arthropods such as ticks and mosquitoes, with more than a quarter of the world’s population living in areas where mosquito-borne flaviviruses are considered endemic.
Due to climate change, globalization, and urbanization, the incidence of flaviviruses is increasing worldwide. Rising temperatures may intensify flavivirus diseases in already endemic areas through faster viral amplification, increased vector survival, and higher reproduction and biting rates.
There are currently no specific treatments available for flavivirus diseases and few vaccines are available to prevent them, highlighting the need for novel therapies aiming to tackle these emerging health threats.
Aligned to the opening of the new J&J Satellite Center for Global Health Discovery at the Duke–NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) in Singapore, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, together with Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health, is proud to launch the Global Health Discovery QuickFire Challenge: Flavivirus Infections. Innovators from across the Asia Pacific and Oceania regions1 are invited to submit potentially ground-breaking ideas aiming to treat, control, or prevent flavivirus disease.
The innovator(s) with the best potential solution will receive grant funding from a total pool of up to $300,000, access to the Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS Asia Pacific community, including a dedicated workstation for one year at JLABS @ Shanghai, and mentorship from experts at the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.
* Subject to the execution of the necessary documentation and (award) agreements. Applicants must have a physical presence in Asia, Australia, or Oceania.
Why this challenge matters to us
Johnson & Johnson is committed to helping address the dual gap in innovation and health equity through the establishment of the J&J Centers for Global Health Discovery (J&J CGHD). This global network of research collaborations and partnerships brings together our talent and expertise with that of leading academic institutions with the aim to stimulate and speed up the early-stage research and development needed to address entrenched and emerging pandemic threats.
The launch of the J&J Satellite Center for Global Health Discovery at the Duke–NUS Medical School aims to advance scientific discoveries to help treat, control, or prevent flaviviruses with the goal of tackling the next global public health threat. Working together, we can spark the next great idea that could change the trajectory of health.
What we’re looking for
We are interested in potentially ground-breaking ideas aiming to treat, control, or prevent flavivirus disease, such as:
Exploratory therapeutic platform technologies targeting the genus Flavivirus (or Flavivirdae family)
Broad-spectrum therapeutics/antiviral modalities targeting viral replication of flaviviruses (dengue virus, Zika virus, West Nile virus, Japanese Encephalitis virus, yellow fever virus)
Immune-mediated approaches such as host-directed targets aiming to control flavivirus infections
Disease learning: understanding underlying mechanism of flavivirus pathogenesis
Novel approaches toward patient identification and stratification that can include:
Multidimensional biomarker discovery platforms, including those with AI/ML based analytics
Deep patient clinical and molecular phenotyping data sets
Enabling technologies for clinical trials:
Potential solutions aiming to identify and recruit specific patient sub-populations.