Respirators have a long history led by some of the world’s greatest innovators, dating back to Pliny the Elder in the first century A.D. with major strides by Leonard da Vinci in the 16thCentury according to the Cambridge Mask Company. They are an important component of personal protective equipment every day in healthcare settings, and can be a critical line of defense in the event of an emerging disease outbreak. This was the case one hundred years ago when Johnson & Johnson led the fight against the devastating Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 by introducing the epidemic face mask .
Yet, respirators have remained largely unchanged for almost 50 years, despite major shortcomings identified within the current design and increasing threats of air pollution and airborne epidemics. In an age of disruption spurred by technological advances, it’s time to take action – to attempt to prevent needless suffering and save lives by improving respiratory safety.
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, working with Janssen Research & Development, LLC, announce the Reimagining Respiratory Protection QuickFire Challenge. We’re calling on innovators to revolutionize respiratory protection, to submit novel ideas to better protect against the inhalation of harmful infectious agents.
Up to two innovators will be awarded up to $100,000, access to the Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS ecosystem, and support in developing their ideas from BARDA, to support health security products and technologies in biotechnology, life science research, and medical innovations as they navigate research, development, and regulatory pathways.