J&J enters Longevity market with “Immorbidity” play

A new competition aims to find the next great breakthrough to help us stay active and healthy beyond the age of 100.

People are living longer; however, we aren’t necessarily becoming healthier, which means more and more people require long term and complex healthcare. So next step preceding Longevity is ‘immorbidity’: a new term that has entered the sector to describe compressed morbidity.

Longevity Technology Healthspan Lifespan immorbidity
Healthspan and morbidity explainer

Dr Victor Dzau, the chair of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), has big goals for the science of healthy aging in 2020, which is why he’s teamed up with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) on a three-year collaboration with the NAM to sponsor the new Healthy Longevity Catalyst Awards [1].

The competition, which kicks off this month, will grant up to 450 Catalyst Awards of up to $50,000 each to healthcare innovators pioneering new ideas in healthy aging in every area of medicine, science and technology.

Some winners will go through to the second phase of the competition in 2021, where they will receive funding and residencies at one of 13 Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS health incubators. Here they will have access to all the cutting-edge resources they need to make their innovations work.

Healthy Longevity Catalyst Awards with J&J immorbidity
Some Catalyst Award winners will receive funding and residencies at a Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS location (source: Johnson & Johnson)

The grand prize winners will be named in 2023 and given as much as $5million to turn their ideas into reality.

Speaking about the Awards programme, Dzau said the awards would capitalise on an environment in which technology is showing enormous, if as yet untapped, potential.
“The new technology is amazing,” he said, “whether it’s robotics, artificial intelligence, medical research, biomarkers, new treatments — you name it. So, the timing of this contest is great because I think we are at an inflection point in terms of where the science is and where we can begin to break through.”

Judges will, he says, be looking for outside-the-box thinking that has the potential to spark the next great breakthrough in Longevity.

“We are really looking for people who are willing to take risks. Winning projects will make us say: “Whoa, this is a new way of looking at things!”,” he concludes.

[1] https://www.jnj.com/innovation/quest-for-immorbidity-to-live-longer-disease-free

Image credit:  Manuel Esteban / Shutterstock