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J&J adds Manchester to partnering network

Adds satellite office for London innovation hub
Johnson & Johnson headquarters

The University of Manchester in the UK is the latest institution to forge closer ties with Johnson & Johnson (J&J)'s recently launched innovation centre network.

Last year, J&J unveiled a series of regional hubs - in London, California, Massachusetts and Shanghai - designed to boost collaboration with academic researchers.

Since then it has added a number of satellite offices to those innovation centres in order to extend the reach of the network, with each office having the authority and flexibility to arrange collaborations.

Manchester joins Stevenage as one of the satellites to the London hub, which is the lead centre in the initiative, with J&J setting up a partnering office that will be headed by the firm's senior director of partnership management Johan Verbeek.

Others will be located in Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh and Cardiff, according to Kurt Hertogs, incubator strategy leader, who spoke to PMLive about the UK plans late last year.

Verbeek said he hoped to build "strong personal relationships with leading scientists to facilitate collaboration across pharmaceutical, medical devices and diagnostics, and consumer sectors". The aim is to identify and invest in projects to bring them through the proof-of-concept stage, he added.

California centre signs collaboration

Meanwhile, J&J's innovation centre in California has signed a partnership with biopharma start-up Alector that will explore the potential of a novel, undisclosed Alzheimer's disease  drug target.

Alector is targeting key components of the pathological pathways that underlie Alzheimer's using monoclonal antibody technology via its strategic alliance with antibody discovery specialist Adimab.

The deal provides a prime example of how J&J hopes its partnering process will function. Alector is located at J&J subsidiary Janssen Labs QB3 incubator facility in San Francisco, which provides no-strings-attached support for external companies but places J&J in a great position to negotiate partnerships with promising projects.

"This agreement provides Alector with a lot of options while helping to reduce our burn rate; a win-win for both parties," commented Tillman Gerngross, Alector's chairman.

Article by
Phil Taylor

11th March 2014

From: Research

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