Introducing the Deep Life Challenge

The Deep Life ecosystem is centered around the idea of collaboration and helping breakthrough ideas come to market more quickly. We think there could be hundreds — if not thousands — of exciting new use cases if entrepreneurs and scientists think more expansively about how a technology is applied.

Collaboration is the inspiration behind the new Deep Life Challenge, which is a project between Innovation Endeavors and the LEO Science & Tech Hub (a division of LEO Pharma). The Deep Life Challenge aims to identify startups with platform approaches to drug discovery and to validate if there is an application for dermatological conditions.

We kicked off the Deep Life Challenge last week with a panel webinar that featured three life science and health-related start-ups who have all quickly adapted their core technologies to help address the COVID-19 pandemic and other pressing health needs.

  • Color, which expanded its work researching genetics and cancer to quickly develop a COVID-19 diagnostic testing technology.
  • Emerald, founded by Dina Katabi (a MacArthur fellow and MIT professor), which is applying its movement-detecting wireless technology as a potential way to monitor and treat COVID-19 patients in their homes.
  • Epicore Biosystems, Inc., founded by Dr. Roozbeh Ghaffari, which offers a proprietary sweat microfluidic sensing platform to monitor athletes’ electrolyte levels. This platform has quickly expanded to explore monitoring the health status of COVID-19 patients and frontline health workers.

Panelists Katabi and Ghaffari, along with Dany Matar, who leads strategic partnerships at Color, shared several key insights about adapting a platform technology to address an urgent need, novel application, or unplanned emergency. The archived webinar can be viewed here.

Entrepreneurs can apply to be part of the Deep Life Challenge. Start-ups selected to participate could receive financial investment by Innovation Endeavors, as well as collaborations with the LEO Science & Tech Hub that include resources and support such as experts, mentorship or applicable datasets for validation.

Applications for the program will be open until December 2020, and are accepted on a rolling basis.


The LEO Science & Tech Hub, based in Boston and Tokyo, is the R&D innovation unit of LEO Pharma and acts as a catalyst to transform early-stage innovations and technologies into solutions that will aim to improve the quality of life for people with skin diseases.


Deep Life is an ecosystem that brings together players from across the life sciences value chain, including large industries, startups, philanthropic institutions, academics, policymakers, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Deep Life is hosted by Innovation Endeavors.




Investing in visionary founders, transformational technology and emergent ecosystems for a new world.

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