New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson announced the launch of the J&J Centers for Global Health Discovery (J&J Centers), a new, global network of unique research partnerships that will leverage the institutional strengths of Johnson & Johnson and leading academic institutions to accelerate discovery research to address the world’s most pressing global health challenges. The first J&J Satellite Center for Global Health Discovery (Satellite Center) was launched at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) at an event co-hosted by Johnson & Johnson and LSHTM, and additional J&J Centers will launch worldwide through 2022.
The J&J Centers will advance the critical, early-stage discovery and exploratory science needed to develop potentially lifesaving innovations to address diseases that disproportionately impact the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Each Satellite Center will focus on entrenched and emerging threats that are pressing and have a high unmet need, including tuberculosis (TB), dengue fever, flavivirus, coronavirus and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
“COVID-19 has shown us that investments in early-stage research, such as novel vaccine technologies, are critical to accelerate our fight against pandemic threats. The J&J Centers for Global Health Discovery are the latest chapter in our efforts to turn science into solutions for diseases that continue to threaten communities worldwide,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson. “This collaborative approach to science is essential to accelerate innovations from the lab to the last mile, address the global health inequities laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and improve our health security.”
The Centers help stimulate funding for early stage science, innovation and talent development, areas that are traditionally under-funded. A 2018 analysis found that many innovations and technologies needed to fight some of the world’s most prevalent health threats are not likely to be developed, due in part to significant funding and innovation gaps. The J&J Centers aim to stimulate the company’s research and development (R&D) pipeline at the discovery stage by focusing on funding early-stage science, innovation and talent development.
The J&J Centers help address the dual innovation and health equity gap by creating a larger and decentralized scientific network that empowers scientists worldwide to drive R&D in the communities where the need is greatest. By joining forces with other institutions and leveraging their regional networks, the J&J Centers will help mentor talent and advance the science needed as efficiently as possible.
“The launch of the J&J Centers for Global Health Discovery is the latest step forward in our pursuit of collaborative science to deliver for the most underserved worldwide, and there is no better inaugural partner than LSHTM,” said Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, M.D., Ph.D., global head of Global Public Health R&D at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. “The thriving innovation community in the United Kingdom matched with LSHTM’s legacy of global health research makes for an ideal environment to accelerate our research agenda against entrenched and emerging threats.”
The Johnson & Johnson Satellite Center for Global Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
The J&J Satellite Center for Global Health Discovery (Satellite Center) at the LSHTM will focus specifically on developing cutting edge science, from biology to data sciences, to help build the next-generation drug regimens needed to treat all forms of TB, an infectious disease that kills 1.4 million people each year and accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths from AMR. Accelerating this research is critical to achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal of ending TB by 2030. This collaboration builds on Johnson & Johnson’s decades-long research on multidrug-resistant TB and an enduring relationship between the company and LSHTM, which includes the development of the Johnson & Johnson Ebola vaccine regimen.
“The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has powerfully demonstrated the importance of investing in basic science and discovery,” said Professor Peter Piot, M.D., Ph.D., director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. “We have long worked with Johnson & Johnson to tackle significant global health challenges, like tuberculosis and Ebola, and are eager to build on this work in pursuit of a healthier, safer and more equitable world.”
The development of the discovery research framework at the Satellite Center is already underway, led by Dr. Anil Koul, vice president and head for Global Public Health Discovery and Partnerships at Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, who was recently appointed to an additional role as adjunct professor of Translational Research at the LSHTM.
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