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New Design Challenge Seeks Sustainable Solutions for Unit-Dose Medicine Packaging

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health developed its QuickFire Challenge platform to enlist students, entrepreneurs, researchers and startup companies to help tackle some of the most challenging problems in healthcare.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health is aiming to help accelerate innovation in medicine packaging design by inviting external innovators to submit innovations through its Packaging Design QuickFire Challenge: Unit Dose Technologies. The Challenge has as a goal of finding child resistant and easy-to-use and sustainable packaging solutions, in line with the company’s goal to use 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025.

Launched in July 2021 by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, together with the packaging innovation team within Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., the Unit Dose Technologies competition aims to inspire innovators to design new medicine unit-dose packaging with a focus on child-resistant, user-friendly, sustainable, non-reclosable designs.

Packaging medicines in convenient, single doses for consumers can bring multiple benefits. Research shows unit-dose packaging can increase medication adherence, improve monitoring and reduce the risk of contamination. Unit-dose packaging can also be valuable in helping to prevent children from accidently ingesting the medicine.

“Through this Challenge, we can work together with parents and caregivers to help prevent accidental unsupervised ingestions; and help to spark the next great idea that has the potential to help protect children from avoidable harm and encourage appropriate use in adults in ways that are more sustainable,” said Ed Kuffner, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health. “Such innovations have the potential to change the trajectory of global health for humanity. Now, that’s exciting!"

So far, the use of non-reclosable unit-dose packaging has been limited due to concerns over its ease of use, ability to be recycled, manufacturability and the speed at which packaging lines can operate.

The company launched the QuickFire Challenge with the aim to help accelerate the development of viable unit-dose packaging options to bring to market. Potential innovations can include both solids (tablets, capsules and powders) and liquids (solutions and suspensions) in unit-dose formats such as blisters, sachets or stick packs. Primary and secondary packaging or a combination of the two are in scope of the challenge.

The innovator with the best idea, potential technology or potential solution will receive grant funding from a total pool of up to $100,000, access to the global Johnson & Johnson Innovation — JLABS network, and mentorship from experts across the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. The Unit Dose Technologies Challenge is open for applications until October 15, 2021.

“The Unit Dose Technologies [Challenge] can help accelerate external innovation that benefits patients and keeps kids as safe as possible; and we are excited to see the proposals submitted. Running the challenge across our pharmaceutical, medical devices and consumer health segments enables us to bring new and innovative thinking to all sectors and use the diverse scientific expertise within J&J to help innovators maximize the impact of their innovations on improving health outcomes,” said Fernando Guardiola Ramirez, Packaging Development Engineer at Johnson & Johnson. “Through Johnson & Johnson Innovation and the support measures it provides, startups, entrepreneurs and academic researchers among others can discuss early-stage deals and collaborations, company incubation, venture capital funding and more with the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.”

The QuickFire Challenge platform was developed by Johnson & Johnson Innovation with the aim to empower potential groundbreaking science and health solutions by enlisting students, entrepreneurs, researchers and startup companies to tackle some of the most challenging problems in healthcare. The Packaging Design QuickFire Challenge: Unit Dose Technologies follows more than 60 Challenges launched to date.

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