‘Blue-Knight’ Companies Awarded $500,000

Blue Knight was designed to anticipate emerging threats and activate the global innovation community
blue knight statue

The first companies to be part of a collaboration called Blue Knight have been announced by Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC.

Seven companies have been selected on August 27, 2020, for their promising work to fill gaps in the current set of available COVID-19 diagnostic, therapeutic, vaccine, and other technology potential solutions. 

These start-up companies will receive combined support of up to $500,000 and mentorship from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, and others, with the aim to accelerate the development of their potential solutions to the patients, frontline healthcare workers, and communities who need them.

Blue Knight has been developed in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS (JLABS), a global network of life science incubators empowering and enabling innovators to deliver potential life-enhancing health and wellness solutions to people around the globe.

“In our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we must act with urgency to support the entrepreneurs working on the ‘fragile frontlines’ of innovation. These pioneers in science and research are working, often with limited resources, to bring the potential healthcare solutions needed today over the finish line, as well as advance the vaccines, technologies, and therapies of tomorrow.” said Melinda Richter, Global Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS, in a press statement.

“Blue Knight was designed to be bold in anticipating emerging threats, activating the global innovation community in new ways and amplifying the technological advances that aim to secure the future health of our families and communities.”

The following JLABS resident companies have been selected as the first Blue Knight companies:

7 Hills Pharma, JLABS @ TMC: 7 Hills Pharma’s oral immune stimulant is a clinical-stage, first-in-concept treatment aimed to stimulate the body’s immune response against tumor and infectious disease antigens, including SARS-CoV-2.

Autonomous Therapeutics, Inc. (ATI), JLABS @ NYC: ATI is developing the first pan-coronavirus prophylactics with the aim of preventing infections by any coronavirus, from COVID-19 to the next threat.

Epic Bio, JLABS @ SSF: The technology of Epic Bio leverages the recently discovered Cas13d nuclease molecule to specifically cleave and degrade viral RNA sequences with high efficiency and having the potential to serve as a novel prophylactic antiviral approach to combat SARS-CoV-2.

Gabi SmartCare, JLABS @ BE: Gabi SmartCare developed a remote monitoring solution that combines advanced medical wearable technologies and predictive digital analytics aimed at enabling the early detection and recovery surveillance of respiratory issues.

Genome Biologics, JLABS @ BE: Through novel approaches using its GENIMAPS® computational platform, Genome Biologics aims to find unknown links between FDA/EMA-approved drugs and disease and to validate those findings singularly and in combination using its patented TrueCardium™ organoid platform to identify the most relevant matches, including identifying a number of high-potential treatments for COVID-19.

Persephone Biosciences, Inc., JLABS @ San Diego: Persephone's microbiome therapeutic is envisioned to be used to enhance immunity which may reduce chances of coronavirus infection and could also be used to increase the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines in development.

Specific Biologics Inc., JLABS @ Toronto: Specific Biologics is leveraging its research in lung diseases with the aim to develop a nanoparticle-delivered gene editor to target and eliminate the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as a potential therapeutic for COVID-19.

“We live in an interconnected world where infectious diseases such as TB, HIV, Ebola, Zika and most recently COVID-19 have no borders,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee, Johnson & Johnson, in a press statement.

‘Our preparedness and response to emerging public health threats as well as existing debilitating diseases require new, transformational approaches.’

Click here to view and register for upcoming Blue Knight programs.

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