Johnson & Johnson Dives Into 2018 With 15 New Deals

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Johnson & Johnson Innovation has kick started the New Year by striking collaborative agreements with 15 different organizations and companies to address areas of high unmet medical need in neuroscience, oncology and other areas.

The collaborations include development of novel healthcare solutions that include the diagnosis of throat cancers through a saliva test, the use of artificial intelligence to detect signs of Alzheimer's disease and treating sleep disorders through harnessing of the microbiome. The latest collaborations announced by J&J Innovations bring the total number of strategic transactions executed by Johnson & Johnson Innovation to more than 350 since its establishment in 2012.

Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson, said that each collaboration J&J Innovation forges represents a “unique opportunity” to explore novel therapies and medical devices that can positively impact the lives of people.

"By advancing transformative healthcare innovations together with entrepreneurs, academic centers and institutions, we are one step closer to addressing many pressing global healthcare challenges,” Stoffels said in a statement.

In the field of neuroscience J&J Innovation struck four deals:

  1. University of Pennsylvania – J&J Innovation and Janssen Pharmaceuticals struck an exclusive research collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania's Gene Therapy Program to use Adeno-associated virus (AAV)-vectors developed by the University of Pennsylvania and antibodies targeting Alzheimer's disease developed by Janssen to target Alzheimer’s disease. The collaboration aims to use AAV viral delivery to express therapeutic antibodies that target the main pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease.
  2. NCICRE – J&J and the Northern California Institute for Research and Education and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center will collaborate to investigate online neuropsychological assessments to monitor brain health in elderly people.
  3. Holobiome Corporation – J&J and Holobiome will team up to explore the role of the microbiome in sleep. The groups will examine bacteria that could be used to create a differentiated probiotic or over-the-counter offering that addresses sleeplessness.
  4. WinterLight Labs – The companies will attempt to leverage artificial intelligence to predict neurodegenerative diseases. They will analyze voice samples from Janssen’s ongoing clinical trials in Alzheimer's and neurodegenerative diseases to predict dementia and neurodegenerative diseases long before clinical symptoms become apparent.

In oncology J&J Innovation struck three agreements:

  1. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research – The MIT-based institute and J&J will attempt to create multidisciplinary approaches to prevent, intercept and cure lung cancer. 
  2. Queensland University of Technology – The collaboration will attempt to develop a saliva-based diagnostic for early detection of throat cancers in patients before invasive treatments are needed.  
  3. MiRXES Pte Ltd. – The groups will develop a novel lung cancer diagnostic test with the aim to improve the detection of early-stage disease.

The remaining collaborations include:

  1.  Dermala Inc. – The companies will develop microbiome-derived treatments for skin conditions.
  2. Monash University – The collaboration is aimed at exploring the underlying triggers of psoriasis to discover and develop potential new treatments that prevent future occurrences of the disease. 
  3. Monash University – A second collaboration will work to establish the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @ Monash.
  4.  MiNDERA – The deal looks to advance a minimally invasive microneedle device to better enable the research, diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory skin diseases at the molecular level. 
  5. Beacon Discovery Inc. – The companies will collaborate on a G-Protein Coupled Receptor (GCPR) drug discovery incubator, to discover and develop next-generation therapeutics to treat obesity and other metabolic diseases.  
  6. Queensland University of Technology – In a second collaboration, J&J Innovation and the university will research and develop novel contact lenses to slow the progression of myopia.
  7. Narayana Nethralaya Foundation – J&J Innovation and the foundation will develop tools to identify a person's unique vision-care needs to help facilitate the matching of vision correction options.  
  8. Taiwan Industrial Technology Research Institute – The groups will develop co-funding agreements for projects in lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, eye health and digital health initiatives.

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