Johnson and Johnson Innovation (JJI) is teaming up with hardware manufacturing company PCH to create Hardware for Health, an accelerator of sorts for companies with a consumer health oriented hardware prototype.
"If you look at what’s happening in hardware, there’s really a renaissance going on," Stacy Feld, Senior Director of Consumer Scientific Innovation at JJI, told MobiHealthNews. "There are new devices, new software algorithms, advanced sensor technologies, and novel imaging innovations. And as these new hardware solutions are converging on the consumer health ecosystem, that’s enabling new solutions for consumers to engage in self-care and general health and wellness."
Although the program will bear some similarities to an accelerator, it won't have defined timetables for classes or a "one size fits all" approach to supporting companies, Feld said. Instead, PCH and Johnson and Johnson will provide the companies with some combination of office space, funding, product design assistance, help with distribution, help with marketing and/or assistance navigating regulatory and clinical channels, depending on the company's outstanding needs.
"The program is designed to be a customized solution to meet the entrepreneurs and the teams where they are in their development and to identify the key technical and business milestones for their particular business," Feld said. "The program will be designed to take the company and the entrepreneurial team from concept to consumer, focused on getting companies with a particular prototype to scale and helping them navigate development and commercialization."
Applicants won't be limited to one particular area: Feld said the incubator would accept everything from medical devices to consumer-facing activity trackers, provided they target an area of unmet need.
The project falls under Johnson and Johnson Innovation, the innovator doesn't directly benefit the healthcare company, but Feld says she hopes supporting the ecosystem will help foster innovations that help everyone in the space.
"From a broad perspective, this initiative is very consistent with our overall mission, specifically focused on where hardware entrepreneurs are offering innovative health devices to consumers and to patients," she said. "We are interested in being a part of this ecosystem and supporting startups in all of these spaces."