CREATING A GLOBAL FOOTPRINT: TARGETING PRESSING PUBLIC HEALTH NEEDS
The scientific community has made significant progress in efforts to extend and enhance human health. By developing treatments and vaccines to reduce the burden of some of the most debilitating diseases of our time, we have dramatically improved health outcomes for people worldwide.
Despite such progress, critical challenges remain, such as persistent infectious disease threats that put at risk hundreds of millions of people globally, coupled with an unprecedented rise of non-communicable diseases and chronic conditions. We continue to see new outbreaks that threaten human well-being, such as the emergence and amplification of global pandemics in the form of the Ebola and Zika viruses. Moreover, the upsurge of antibiotic resistance, deemed one of the greatest public health emergencies of our time by the World Health Organization (WHO), is also undermining the painstaking progress we have made.
To effectively tackle such an array of global public health challenges, we must continually explore new ways to develop novel drugs, diagnostics, and partnerships that ensure vulnerable communities have access to essential tools that will keep them healthy. Actors across sectors must work together to leverage the strengths and expertise of their unique perspectives and capabilities. Shared goals require shared plans of attack to combat diseases that continue to threaten the well-being of vulnerable populations.
At Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, we are committed to protecting the health of people today and for generations to come. Thoughtful collaborations that spur ongoing innovation are critical to this end.
Putting innovation at the core of our R&D strategy propels our activities in the laboratory, and inspires novel collaborations with the world’s best scientists and entrepreneurs. Through partnerships with leading organizations in science and policy, we aim to accelerate innovation around the world as well as ensure access to these healthcare solutions for communities in need.
Our goal is to empower and enable innovation – wherever it may be found. We engage in educational programs, a funding series, and many other initiatives, with the express intent to help innovators build skills, competencies, and networks so they can translate novel ideas into new opportunities that will advance the field of science and medicine.
To amplify the best early stage science, in 2012, our Company established regional hubs, or Innovation Centers (JLABS), in four of the world’s leading innovation hot spots: London, Boston, San Francisco, and Shanghai. The goal of these Innovation Centers is to advance the development of new healthcare solutions by catalyzing collaborations in science and technology across continents.
Our JLABS teams further advance these objectives, providing local incubators on-going support (including R&D, funding, and commercial expertise) to foster the growth of a community of entrepreneurs developing new health ventures in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, cardiovascular and metabolism, infectious diseases, and vaccines.
Such initiatives aim to break down persistent hurdles so that innovative science and technology can become a viable commercial solution, as part of a broader mission to improve the health and well-being of people around the world. But beyond science, we recognize the value of collaboration to enhance access to medical tools. We place equal value on developing innovations as we do on ensuring that they reach the families and communities that need them.
One example of the innovation we strive for is our partnership with Children Without Worms. The program fosters collaborations with governments, the private sector, and NGO partners, each united to reach a single goal – eliminating intestinal worm infections (soil-transmitted helminths, or STH) in school-age children. Nearly one billion children are at risk. While STH is rarely fatal, the damage of repeated worm infection causes irreversible damage and prevents children from being able to learn and grow into healthy and productive adults. Johnson & Johnson provides deworming medicines so that communities in need can access treatment, but deworming medicines are only part of the equation that children ultimately need. As such, this innovative partnership
with Children Without Worms calls on donors and governments of affected regions to support an integrated approach, which includes mass treatment of school-age and pre schoolage children with deworming medicines, and prevention via access to and use of clean water and good hygiene practices. It is a collaboration founded on innovation and part of a global movement to rid the world of an entirely preventable disease.
Beyond our work in preventing intestinal worm infections, we are committed to working with donors and governments, civil society, academia, and the private sector to ensure that treatments that target pressing public health issues become an integral part of efforts to keep vulnerable families and communities healthy for generations to come. With so many people around the world still in need, coupled with the emergence of new public health challenges, Johnson & Johnson and Janssen understand the importance of overturning every stone to find new medicines and solutions to improve global public health. Collaboration is key to this end.
We will continue to push the boundaries of medicine and science to tackle these challenges, and reverse the damage diseases like STH have caused. We will not stop looking for solutions, and we will call upon the global health community, at all levels and across sectors, to work collectively towards shared goals of a healthier world.