Announcing the CLS Inspire QuickFire Challenge for BIPOC Communities


April 20, 2022 – California Life Sciences (CLS), with support from Johnson & Johnson Innovation and AbbVie, is proud to launch the CLS Inspire QuickFire Challenge for BIPOC Communities, a follow-up challenge to last year’s CLS Inspire QuickFire Challenge for Diverse Innovators. California-based innovators are invited to submit potential solutions for BIPOC communities which have been historically marginalized.

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities have long been disproportionately impacted by diseases in the United States. Black Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 remain twice as likely to die from heart disease than their white counterparts.1   American Indians and Alaska Natives have traditionally experienced a higher mortality rate than other races across a variety of diseases, including chronic liver disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic lower respiratory diseases.2 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders experience tuberculosis at a rate that is 40 times higher than non-Hispanic whites (20 vs. 0.5 cases per 100,000 population).3

As part of the California Life Sciences’ (CLS) Racial & Social Equity (RSE) Initiative, a multi-year commitment to create change for the historically excluded BIPOC communities in California, there is an increased focus to address the healthcare disparities that impact these communities by advancing potential solutions designed to drive better health outcomes and to provide equitable access to care.

The innovator(s) with the best potential solution will receive grant funding from a total pool of $150,000, one year of complimentary CLS membership to allow awardees visibility through CLS events and programs and access to new and existing collaboration partners. One awardee will be invited to participate in the 2023 Spring FAST Program, receiving commercialization advising from a tailored group of industry veterans. *

Apply here by August 5, 2022.

The CLS Inspire QuickFire Challenge is part of the CLS Racial and Social Equity Initiative, a unified effort to do more for the under-served and under-represented, focusing on the most critical need to address the inequality for Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander populations in California. #WeCommitToChange.  The QuickFire Challenges are managed by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, with the goal to help address today’s greatest health care challenges.

* Subject to the execution of the necessary documentation and (award) agreements.  

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC works across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer health 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 California Life Sciences (CLS)

California Life Sciences (CLS) is the state’s most influential and impactful life sciences membership organization, advocating for the sector and its diverse innovation pipeline. For more than 30 years, CLS has served the community by supporting companies of all sizes, from early-stage innovators and startups to established industry leaders in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical technology. As integral components of a healthy and collaborative ecosystem, CLS also works closely with universities, academic and research institutions, the investment community, and other critical partners that promote this vibrant sector. With offices in South San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, CLS works to shape public policy, improve access to breakthrough technologies, educate lawmakers, and advance equity within our ecosystem by championing innovative solutions for some of the most pressing challenges of our times. In doing so, CLS fulfills its mission to protect and nurture California’s life sciences industry, empowering discoveries that lead to healthier lives around the world. #WeAreCaliforniaLifeSciences

Visit CLS at, and follow us on Twitter @CALifeSciences, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.