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Inside the Innovation Arena – A Recap of Our BLUE KNIGHT™ QuickPitch: Activating for the Future

August 31, 2023 - Earlier this week, innovation took center stage at the BLUE KNIGHT™ QuickPitch: Activating for the Future. 10 innovators were invited to the hub of Blue Knight – JLABS @ Washington, DC – to showcase their ideas that aim to enhance preparedness toward future known and unknown health threats.

The presenting finalists were…

  • Adiso Therapeutics | Adiso Therapeutics is focused on the development of NLRP1 and NLRP3 dual inhibitors for respiratory inflammation in collaboration with global experts at the Hudson Institute in Melbourne, Australia and the University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research.

  • Asha Therapeutics | Asha Therapeutics (Asha) is a biopharmaceutical company focusing solely on de novo drug discovery and chemical design, leveraging the ability of its disruptive, Mechanism Of Action (MOA) agnostic PRISM™ (PRoximity Inducing Small Molecules) technology platform.

  • Azimuth Biologics, Inc | Azimuth Biologics is developing targeted IgA isotope monoclonal antibody therapies for the treatment and prevention of flavivirus infections.

  • Benevira | Benevira's innovative potential preparedness solution is a self-administration broad spectrum antiviral transdermal patch that provides convenient and effective protection against a range of viral families, promoting accessibility, and ease of use across diverse socioeconomic groups.

  • CastleVax | Leveraging the Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), CastleVax is working to develop a vaccine platform that will allow for quick and efficient development of vaccines to respond to future pandemics and address existing viral pathogens with substantial unmet medical need.

  • Eradivir | Eradivir's technology is a dual-action antiviral platform based on small molecules that both inhibit viral spread and recruit immune clearance of infected cells.

  • Immunyx | Immunyx is developing the novel TENN (targeted neutrophil nanoparticle) platform technology for the modulation of neutrophils in infection and restoration of immune homeostasis health.

  • Orion Therapeutics | Orion Therapeutics provides an advanced lipid nanoparticle delivery platform technology, which facilitates pandemic preparedness through innovative RNA formulation solutions that improve supply chain logistics, decrease production costs, and address cold storage challenges.

  • VAXDYN | VAXDYN's validated technology platform delivers vaccines for prevention of disease caused by the most clinically relevant antibiotic-resistant bacteria of the group of Gram-negative bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli.

  • Wintermute Biomedical Inc | Wintermute Biomedical has developed a library of fatty acid/amino acid salts that form broad spectrum antimicrobial nano-micelles in water capable of killing viruses, fungus, and multi-drug resistant bacteria.

A special congratulations to Immunyx and CastleVax who were also recently named as awardees of the Blue Knight Resident QuickFire Challenge: Accelerating Project NextGen. Each novel idea inspired a plethora of thoughtful questions, feedback, and guidance from our judging panel. After the pitches and live Q&A sessions, attendees enjoyed a networking lunch where they connected with fellow members of the local ecosystem to share ideas and find synergies. Our judges then hosted 42 one-on-one partnering meetings with interested startups to deepen their connection with our ecosystem. As our team looks toward the future, we eagerly anticipate the continued success of all the finalists as they continue their entrepreneurial journeys. If you’re interested in learning more about the best ways to engage with Blue Knight you can subscribe to our newsletter.

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation Johnson & Johnson Innovation works across the pharmaceutical and medtech sectors to accelerate early-stage, transformational solutions by catalyzing the best ideas, wherever they are in the world. We do this by harnessing our deep scientific capabilities coupled with a wide range of tools, including customized deal structures, company creation, incubation and startup services, capital investments and other innovative business models that aim to meet the diverse needs of entrepreneurs, scientists and emerging companies. Our goal is to help life science and health technology innovations thrive through collaboration and partnership with the global ecosystem, so that together we can change the trajectory of human health. Meet our passionate team of science and technology experts and learn how to collaborate with us at About Blue Knight BLUE KNIGHT™ is a joint initiative between Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS (JLABS) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This collaboration aims to stimulate the innovation and incubation of science and technologies that may improve health security and response by supporting companies focused on public health threats and emerging infectious diseases. Find out more about BARDA and its mission at Learn more about Blue Knight and hear from our current companies.

About HHS, ASPR and BARDA HHS works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. The mission of ASPR is to assist the country in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from public health emergencies and disasters. Within ASPR, BARDA invests in the innovation, advanced research and development, acquisition, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products – needed to combat health security threats. To date, BARDA-supported products have achieved over 70 FDA approvals, licensures or clearances. To learn more about BARDA’s portfolio and about partnering with BARDA, visit

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