‘Public health in the developing world faces enormous challenges that require unique solutions, and by engaging, enabling and empowering local healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs in this way, we can advance the research, development and distribution of new medicines and treatments that will make a difference for patients in Africa,’ said Alex Gorsky, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson. ‘Ultimately, we’re aspiring to build a healthy world free of disease, and our approach here is a potential blueprint for helping us and others succeed against that broader, global goal in the future.’
Johnson & Johnson’s global public health (GPH) Africa operations team, along with representatives from across its family of companies, will translate the strategy into locally-executable programmes that drive health impact in collaboration with local health delivery partners. The company’s GPH strategy will use an end-to-end approach, which includes early stage disease-specific research, product development, manufacturing and distribution, and education and training resources through its philanthropic efforts. It also will leverage insights and expert capabilities from within its consumer, medical device and pharmaceutical businesses to support a network of local partnerships. Business development teams from Johnson & Johnson companies also will collaborate with African academic centres and entrepreneurs to set up incubation facilities to enable local medical-based start-up companies to conduct their business.
‘This is a model based on innovation, collaboration, and local empowerment that aims to address life threatening issues and deliver measurable results to improve outcomes for patients, families and communities, first across Africa, and more globally in the longer term,’ said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson. ‘By directly engaging with and empowering researchers and the healthcare community across South Africa, we will be better able to direct our resources and advance innovations that can lead to greater impact. We think this can work anywhere in the world, but our urgency right now has to be in Africa because of the patients’ needs.’
‘Local capacity building and empowerment are key aspects of this new approach and are critical to achieving sustainable outcomes,’ said Jaak Peeters, Head of Johnson & Johnson’s global public health organisation. ‘Our sights are set on achieving meaningful long-term results, such as eliminating multi-drug resistant TB or providing adolescent girls with tools they need to stay HIV-free and by working with local and global partners, we can create an ecosystem where we can help achieve those goals.’
The operations expand upon the company’s legacy and presence in Africa, which began in 1936, and brings additional investments to the more than 1,500 employees and three manufacturing sites within the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, which are already present on the continent. Global public health satellite offices in Kenya and Ghana are planned to follow later this year.
‘We’ve learned over time that solving last-mile challenges through local empowerment and partnerships offers the greatest potential impact in the fight against public health challenges, and that it can also help fuel the local economy and catalyse infrastructure investments,’ said Alma Scott, Vice President of Global Operations and Partnerships for Johnson & Johnson’s global public health organisation.
As part of the opening of global public health Africa operations in Cape Town, Johnson & Johnson is proud to announce several of its companies’ new and recent local partnerships to enhance national health system capacity and research and development capabilities:
Strengthening African innovation in Africa and beyond
- Expanding research & development skills and capacity among African scientists – Janssen Pharmaceutica NV has entered into a collaboration with the University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D), the first integrated drug discovery and development centre pioneering world-class drug discovery in Africa. By helping to expand critical research and development skills and capacity, the collaboration supports H3D’s vision of discovering and developing innovative medicines for unmet medical needs on the African continent and beyond.
- Cultivating Africa’s innovation through health technology hubs – Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS teams will provide local incubators ongoing mentoring support to foster the growth of the community of entrepreneurs developing new health ventures in the region. The engagement will follow the model used by Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC to provide R&D, product development, and commercialisation, legal and investment guidance to entrepreneurs and start-ups so that they may focus on achieving scientific advances.
- Teaming with African scientists on a potential Hepatitis B cure – With the goal of developing a cure for hepatitis B, Janssen Sciences Ireland UC is collaborating with the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa to explore the delivery of hepatitis B-targeted transcription activator–like effector nucleases (TALENs) using viral and non-viral vectors.
Holistic solutions to address greatest unmet needs
- Stemming the tide of HIV in adolescent girls in South Africa – South Africa is among the countries benefiting from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)’s DREAMS Partnership, which Johnson & Johnson is supporting through its Janssen Pharmaceutica NV (Janssen). Janssen will provide in-country consumer insights, expertise and financial resources in South Africa and nine other sub-Saharan countries to support a suite of programmes focused on empowering adolescent girls, ensuring improved access to treatment and prevention options, and creating supporting communities. Johnson & Johnson has joined other major partners in the DREAMS Partnership including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Girl Effect.
Local empowerment and delivery of innovative solutions
- Pioneering partnership to improve healthcare delivery in low-income South African communities – Johnson & Johnson (Pty.) Ltd., the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust, and other Johnson & Johnson companies in South Africa are partnering with Unjani Clinics NPC to help strengthen health systems in vulnerable districts by investing to increase vital training and business resources to nurses as well as expanding access to affordable primary healthcare services. The initial investment focuses on 19 clinics, with plans to scale to 50 clinics nationwide by 2018.
These efforts are an extension of a long-standing Johnson & Johnson commitment to caring for individuals, families, and communities around the world, including the most vulnerable populations.
Source: Johnson & Johnson