Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is joining forces with hardware manufacturing company PCH to launch a consumer-health focused hardware startup incubator, building on J&J's commitment to investing in early-stage companies to spur med tech innovation.
The company's Johnson and Johnson Innovation (JJI) arm will work with PCH on the program, "Hardware for Health," which will help bring hardware health startups to market. J&J will take applications on an ongoing basis, selecting candidates at different stages of development as long as they target areas of unmet need, the company said on the program's site.
PCH will lend its product design, engineering and manufacturing know-how to the initiative, while JJI will bring "leadership and access to pharmaceutical, medical device, regulatory and consumer expertise" to the table, according to the program's website. J&J and PCH will also provide companies selected for the accelerator with some combination of office space, funding, product design assistance and help navigating distribution and marketing channels.
The program responds to a "renaissance" that's happening in hardware, Stacy Feld, JJI's senior director of Consumer Scientific Innovation, 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 in wellness," Feld said, as quoted by MobiHealthNews.
Although the accelerator does not directly fall under J&J's scope, the program is "very consistent" with the company's overall mission, she added. "We are interested in being a part of this ecosystem and supporting startups in all of these spaces."
In June, J&J announced that it had chalked up more than 200 collaborations through its JJI arm, which launched in 2013 to advance med tech startups. JJI's latest R&D push includes 5 partnerships with med tech companies, including one with Toronto-based med tech accelerator MaRS Innovation.
"Johnson & Johnson Innovation is focused on bringing forward cutting-edge healthcare solutions that could extend and improve lives. The collaborations announced today aim to accelerate innovation at all stages of research and development," J&J CSO Dr. Paul Stoffels said at the time. "We are committed to working with researchers around the world to push the boundaries of what science and medicine can achieve to transform healthcare."
Special Report: The top companies in med tech: 2014 revenue results - Johnson & Johnson