Johnson & Johnson Innovation enter over 10 partnerships to further its health ambitions
Johnson & Johnson Innovation have announced 15 new partnerships which will support the development of new technologies and products across a number of fields and cater towards the growth of consumer healthcare.
“At Johnson & Johnson Innovation, we have a collaborative approach to partnering and tailor each deal to the needs of the company and its technology so we can accelerate the best science to solve today’s healthcare challenges,” commented Robert G. Urban, PhD., Global Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC.
“Our approach to external innovation has been incredibly fruitful, as we established more than 60 significant new strategic relationships in 2017.”
With ambitions to address ongoing healthcare challenges and improve the quality of life for patients on a global scale, the deals will explore the utilisation of artificial intelligence within fields such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancers and various disorders.
Johnson & Johnson Innovation aim to support the University of Pennsylvania within a new Gene Therapy Program to develop treatments to tackle the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Its collaboration with the Northern California Institute for Research and Education and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the company will also be behind the study of the health of the brain, embedding new technologies to support ongoing developments.
Johnson & Johnson Innovation will further work to treat diseases of the central and enteric nervous systems, and has participated in the Series B financing of XW Laboratories Inc.
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Investing in oncology is an area of which Johnson & Johnson Innovation are looking at with increased interest. Its collaboration with the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT will see the companies conduct research aimed at eradicating lung cancer.
To support this, the company has also extended its collaboration with Queensland University of Technology (QUT), alongside Janssen Cilag Pty Ltd to create a saliva-based diagnostic for early detection of throat cancers.
Furthermore, both Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV have formed a collaboration with MiRXES Pte Ltd to develop a novel lung cancer diagnostic test to improve the detection of early-stage disease.
Eye-related diseases and long-term conditions such as myopia are on the rise. Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s partnership with Queensland University of Technology will further the company’s research and development efforts to slow the progression of the condition through creating contact lenses able to support this goal.
Johnson & Johnson Vision, through its operating company Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., has formed a collaboration with Narayana Nethralaya Foundation and Medical Research Foundation to develop diagnostic tools which can identify a person’s unique vision-care needs to provide personalised, tailored solutions to each patient options.
Finally, the company are working with the Taiwan Industrial Technology Research Institute to set up co-funding agreements for projects in lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, eye health and digital health initiatives. This program will provide co-funding and mentoring to one or more research programs undertaken by public sector participants and start-up companies that meet the requisite factors and are jointly selected by the program founders.
Digital health passports - 4 quick facts
As COVID-19 vaccination programmes roll out around the world, policy makers and the private sector are engaged in intense debates over vaccine passports and whether they are the solution to re-opening economies and getting back to “normal”.
With various governments using different systems there is confusion over how universally accepted a digital health passport will be, and whether our private data will remain private. Here is we know about vaccination passports so far.
1. Many countries will require proof of vaccination status
Most international travel has been on pause during the pandemic, with strict quarantine measures in place around the world. For travel to "open up" again, it is likely that vaccine status, COVID-19 status or a combination of the two will be required before you're able to enter another country.
The European Union is behind a “Digital Green Certificate" that would enable people to show they have been vaccinated, had a negative test, or have recovered from the virus in order to travel across its 27 member countries, although MEPs have also said these will not be a precondition to exercise the right to free movement.
The UK is planning to use its existing National Health Service (NHS) track and trace app as a health passport for British people to travel abroad.
There are no plans to implement a nationwide health passport in the US so far, and there is fierce, partisan opposition to the idea; however Hawaii and New York State have launched passport programmes that enable vaccinated people to skip quarantine for inter-state travel.
Health passports are also being contemplated by the hospitality and entertainment industries - for example for entry to live music events and bars. Israel, which has the highest vaccination rate in the world, has launched a "green passport" for people to show at gyms, venues and synagogues, however there have been problems with access and data privacy.
2. They're not conventional passports - they're digital
Calling them "passports" is a bit of a misnomer, as most of the proposed certificates are digital. The CommonPass, for example, saves the user's test results onto their mobile device, along with any other necessary health screening information. The pass then generates a QR code which can be printed or scanned by airline staff to confirm the passenger's health status. It's already being used by major airlines including Lufthansa, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.
In India, the health ministry has said that everyone who has been vaccinated will get a QR code-based electronic certificate.
Additionally China has implemented an app-based health code system that uses travel and medical data to give people a colour-based rating, showing how likely it is that they have COVID-19 and whether they should self-isolate.
3. Numerous tech companies have already created health passports
A number of tech companies big and small have already entered this space, with Microsoft’s CoronaPass, IBM’s Digital Health Pass, VaxAtlas and SafeFun among the many initiatives that have sprung up catering to different audiences - SafeFun is aimed at consumers to be able to socialise, while the SafeAccess app is specifically for workplaces.
This raises issues around standardisation - with so many different types of digital passport available, there will need to be consensus from venues, businesses and airports on how they work and whether they are accepted.
4. There are fraud and privacy concerns
Research by McAfee recently found a growing black market for fake COVID-19 test results and vaccination certificates.
Enforcing vaccine certification via an app would exclude people who do not own a smartphone. It also has the potential to reinforce existing inequalities, for example pregnant women, who are currently ineligible for vaccination in many parts of the world, and would therefore be unable to participate in the same activities as non-pregnant women.
Last but not least, many have raised concerns over data privacy, which is a major cause of the divisions over whether or not to adopt them. Experts have said they fear vaccination information could be linked to other personal data to create a “personal risk score” that could then be subject to abuse.