Author: Marianne De Backer, Vice President, Johnson & Johnson Innovation- Janssen Business Development
At Johnson & Johnson Innovation we are always seeking to address significant unmet need by applying the best science - no matter where it resides – to develop new medicines. When we see exciting science, we go for it – establishing new relationships and when the fit is right, joining forces in the hope of positively impacting lives.
And while collaborations in the pharmaceutical industry have a reputation of taking months to execute, we recently set ourselves a new and worthy benchmark for nimbleness and speed.
In hepatitis C, patients have faced long odds to achieve a cure from this devastating disease. At Janssen, we have worked and collaborated with other companies for more than a decade to make a meaningful difference for those affected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). These efforts have yielded great advancements in the treatment of HCV.
Janssen contributed significantly to these advances, through several collaborations with companies like Medivir AB and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., and this has resulted in over 200,000 patients having an opportunity for HCV cure.
Not satisfied with our efforts Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. recently concluded, in record time, an agreement with Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc. for an exclusive worldwide license and collaboration arrangement, to develop and, upon regulatory approval, commercialize one or more of Achillion’s lead HCV assets.
In April, we met and discussed the idea of working together. Grounded in the scientific evidence and driven by a strong belief that we could positively impact millions of patients’ lives our two companies saw no time to waste. Almost immediately we entered into extensive discussions which culminated in the collaboration announced on May 19. Today, in recognition of World Hepatitis Day, we celebrate this deal and the hope it brings to even more advances in the future.
When quick, nimble deals are strived for, the timeline in developing the science is accelerated, along with the possibility for breakthroughs that have the potential to benefit patients. This collaboration illustrates how excellent team work and cooperation from two companies who put patients at the center can work quickly and impeccably to accomplish and exceed goals.
This new, transformative partnership, coupled with our recent acquisition of Alios Biopharma in November 2014, has the potential to help those who are still burdened with HCV across the globe. With 150 million patients who could possibly benefit - the potential of the science and the nature of this deals’ execution demonstrates one thing - speed is of the essence.