J&J Innovation Announces 12 New Life Science Alliances

Johnson & Johnson Innovation, LLC has announced 12 new alliances with life science companies and research institutions to explore early-stage innovation in a broad range of therapeutic areas and across pharmaceuticals, medical device, and diagnostics and consumer healthcare.

Johnson & Johnson Innovation launched the innovation centers last year, establishing four regional hubs to identify scientific opportunities with the potential to advance the development of new healthcare solutions. Through the innovation centers, external innovators have access to a broad range of resources within Johnson & Johnson, including funding, R&D expertise and incubation at one of the company’s four Janssen Labs facilities. There are fully operational offices in Boston, London, and California, and a fourth location in Shanghai now houses a small, growing scientific team and will officially open this year to develop collaborations across the Asia Pacific region. The early-stage collaborations represent recent research and development alliances facilitated by the company’s Boston, California and London innovation centers and include technologies such as 3-D printing for orthopaedic trauma, creating new brown fat for metabolic diseases, and advancing treatments for lymphoma, rheumatoid arthritis, prostate cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and insomnia. The collaborations are detailed below.

Cancer research. Janssen Biotech, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have formed a research collaboration with Weill Cornell Medical College aimed at developing compounds for targeting the function of a lymphoma causing protein. Through the collaboration, investigators at Weill Cornell and Janssen drug development researchers will collaborate to discover, validate, and characterize inhibitors of the protein and further elucidate novel targeting methods. Also, Janssen Biotech, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have obtained an exclusive, worldwide license from Aduro BioTech to certain product candidates specifically engineered for the treatment of prostate cancer. In a separate transaction, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation participated in a Series C equity round raised by Aduro.

Neuroscience. Through an agreement facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the neuroscience therapeutic area of Janssen Research & Development, LLC will participate in the U.K. Dementias Research Platform,  a major initiative of the Medical Research Council that seeks to accelerate progress in dementias research through a coordinated public-private partnership with six industry and eight academic institutions.

Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V., Johnson & Johnson Innovation and the Janssen neuroscience therapeutic area, have established a research collaboration with Minerva Neurosciences , subject to certain conditions, around the development of an orexin-2 antagonist, MIN-202. The program will focus on the treatment of patients with primary and secondary insomnia and potentially other related neuropsychiatric disorders.

Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation participated in the Series A equity investment of Rodin Therapeutics in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation. Rodin is focused on finding epigenetic modulators for the treatment of cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease

Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have established a collaboration with the biotechnology company Energesis Pharmaceuticals, which is identifying biological compounds that stimulate the formation of brown fat (BAT) for use in treating metabolic diseases. The company’s approach is a novel strategy leveraging recent scientific insights in BAT biology to increase the body’s ability to burn stored fat and lower insulin resistance.

Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation has made an equity investment in Navitor Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation.  Navitor is developing highly specific modulators of mTORC1, the pathway primarily responsible for cells’ response to nutrient availability including cell growth and function. Navitor is leveraging the central importance of the mTORC1 pathway to develop new therapies for metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, as well as autoimmune, musculoskeletal and other disease areas.

Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation has made an equity investment in Ascelegen Therapeutics in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation. Ascelegen is working on developing novel growth factor-related therapies for cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure. Ascelegen’s work builds on GDF-11 research conducted at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Autoimmune disease. Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation participated in a Series A equity investment in Padlock Therapeutics in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation. Padlock is a company that is developing new therapies targeting the protein arginine deiminases, a class of enzymes that mediate protein citrullination. Protein citrullination leads to the creation of potent autoantigens implicated in the very earliest events that lead to rheumatoid arthritis and drives inflammation and immune complex formation in active autoimmune disease.

Skin, oral, and respiratory conditions. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have established a collaboration with scientists from The University of Manchester to explore potential applications of probiotic extracts for prevention and treatment of skin, oral, and respiratory conditions.

3-D printing resorbable implants. DePuy Synthes Products, LLC and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have formed a strategic collaboration with the medical-device company Tissue Regeneration Systems, Inc. (TRS) to help develop patient-specific, resorbable implants for large bone segmental defect treatment in trauma and orthopaedic oncology. The collaboration matches DePuy Synthes’ expertise  with TRS’s 3-D printing technologies and development expertise. The collaboration also includes potential future development opportunities in a range of additional applications within DePuy Synthes’ areas of strategic interest.

Biosensors. Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc., a member of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, has entered into a research collaboration and option agreement with BrainStem Biometrics Inc. through a deal facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation. As part of the collaboration, Ethicon will co-fund studies to confirm the clinical and operational utility of BrainStem Biometrics’ Tremor Monitor Unit, a small, non-invasive medical device biosensor that is used to detect minute eye movements in patients undergoing anesthesia. As a likely marker of basic brainstem function, this technology has the potential to distinguish between safe and unsafe levels of sedation.

Source: Johnson & Johnson



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