J&J launches consumer health and wellness tech accelerator

J&J's Len Greer

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has long been the top med tech R&D spender--with an estimated $1.7 billion spent on its diagnostics and medical device R&D in 2014. Now it's building a bridge specifically into the consumer-oriented health and wellness industry that spans both med tech and consumer products businesses. The accelerator will specifically target technologies that address nutrition, physical activity, stress and sleep as well as alcohol and smoking cessation.

J&J has created its Health and Wellness Technology Accelerator in collaboration with Sunnyvale, CA-based tech accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center, which already runs an accelerator focused on the Internet-of-things, financial technology, media and mobile technology as well as retail. Plug and Play runs a series of accelerator programs for various partners including J&J as well as others that span a range of industries.

"Our collaboration with Plug and Play extends Johnson & Johnson's focus on innovation and investment in a technology-driven healthcare ecosystem that puts people at the center," said Len Greer, President of J&J Health and Wellness Solutions, in a statement.

He continued, "Our company offers a unique combination of deep consumer insights, behavioral and biological science expertise, regulatory experience, analytics, and design thinking capability, and we are committed to collaborating with the best technology companies to transform human health and well-being."

Plug and Play typically runs 12-week programs for 25 to 30 startups in a particular vertical. The tech accelerator and J&J have entered this collaboration with a three-year commitment followed by annual optional renewals. The three most promising companies will be selected for an award from J&J Health and Wellness Solutions, as well as potentially receiving seed financing and follow-on funding.

Applications for the first accelerator class will be accepted until Feb. 15, with the program starting on March 31. It will aim to have at least 30% of the participating founders be women or minorities in conjunction with J&J's broader corporate diversity effort.

J&J said its Health and Wellness Technology Accelerator will complement its existing pharma- and medical device-oriented Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS in tapping into innovative technology. It's also slated to enable access for the participating entrepreneurs to a corporate program that J&J offers to help train executives better manage their business and personal lives.

- here is the announcement