Johnson & Johnson innovation celebrates life science innovation

Posted: 3 October 2013 | | No comments yet

Collaborations announced between regional innovators and Johnson & Johnson family of companies…

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Johnson & Johnson Innovation today announced several new collaborations in the European region to coincide with a ‘Celebration of Life Science Innovation’ event, hosted by its London Innovation Centre. The event brings together UK life science leaders and scientists from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies to celebrate promising advances and discuss novel collaboration models to deliver better healthcare solutions for patients around the world.

Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, and Dr. Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson, discussed strategies for supporting the health and growth of the innovation ecosystem at the event being held at the recently-opened Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centre in London.

Science Minister David Willetts said: “The UK has a long tradition in using collaboration and partnership to spark new ideas and develop new advances in the life sciences. I am pleased that Johnson & Johnson have recognised that strength, and chosen London to be one of their world centres for innovation and collaboration. The UK Government is committed to creating an environment in which life sciences can thrive in the UK, as outlined in our industrial strategy. I want to see the sector continue to grow and be at the front of the global life sciences race.”

“Investing in, collaborating with, and providing support to early-stage companies and entrepreneurs is critical to our overall strategy of advancing innovation in life science hotspots throughout the world,” said Paul Stoffels, MD. “This exemplifies our broader R&D approach towards science-led engagement with external collaborators which we believe will accelerate the development of new healthcare solutions that bring more years of life and enhanced quality of life to people around the world.”

The London Innovation Centre is one of Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s four regional hubs that focus on identifying and accelerating the most promising early-stage science that will advance the development of new healthcare solutions. Several new collaborations were announced today across the European region:

Collaboration with Effimune – Effimune, a biotech company dedicated to the discovery and development of drugs that regulate the immune system in autoimmune disease and transplantation, and Janssen Biotech, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, have entered into a global option and license agreement. The agreement provides for a collaboration among Effimune, the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centre, London, and the Janssen Immunology Therapeutic Area to focus on the development and commercialization of FR104, a monoclonal antibody fragment in preclinical development for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases.

Investment in Merus – Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC) has made an investment in Merus B.V., a private, venture-backed biopharmaceutical company based in Utrecht, The Netherlands that is building a pipeline of single-cell derived human bi-specific antibodies for cancer therapy. The company is developing antibodies that target both solid tumours and blood tumours and is the lead in a consortium effort to develop bi-specific antibodies targeting cancer stem cells with the aim of addressing the elusive problem of recurrent cancer. The investment aligns with the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies’ strategic interest in oncology, which focuses on several tumour types, including prostate, hematologic, lung and colorectal, to bring the most compelling science to bear in the development of transformational therapeutic solutions. JJDC is participating in the extension of Series B funding as part of a syndicate that includes all the original Series B investors. JJDC is a strategic corporate venture capital subsidiary whose investment teams are co-located with scientific teams in the regional innovation centres to collaborate closely on identifying investment opportunities.

Research Collaborations – Working in collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and the Crucell Vaccine Institute, the London Innovation Centre has also facilitated two vaccine research collaborations. Under one agreement with DCPrime B.V., Janssen will utilize DCPrime’s DCOne™ technology in feasibility studies for the development of a dendritic cell-based vaccine. In a second agreement, Crucell will collaborate with CureVac, on the development of a respiratory vaccine based on CureVac’s RNActive® technology.

“We are delighted to advance a broad range of collaborations based on exciting early-stage science with the potential to lead to transformative products for patients,” commented Patrick Verheyen, head of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centre, London. “Connecting innovators with the resources necessary to advance new products is central to our mission at Johnson & Johnson Innovation.”

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