Johnson & Johnson Launches Next Satellite Center for Global Health Discovery at Holistic Drug Discovery and Development Centre, University of Cape Town, Focused on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
- The new Center is focused on outpacing the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and builds on Johnson & Johnson’s longstanding commitment to tackle this challenge
- The Satellite Center in Cape Town is the second site to open in Johnson & Johnson’s network of research collaborations aimed at addressing the world’s most pressing health challenges
- The collaboration between Johnson & Johnson and H3D will help to further expand and strengthen Africa’s scientific capacity as a global hub for discovery research
Cape Town, South Africa, April 25, 2022 – Johnson & Johnson (the Company) today announced the launch of the J&J Satellite Center for Global Health Discovery (Satellite Center) at the Holistic Drug Discovery and Development (H3D) Centre, University of Cape Town, in Cape Town, South Africa. This marks the latest expansion of the J&J Centers for Global Health Discovery (J&J Centers), a global network of research collaborations between the Company and leading research institutions to accelerate translational and discovery research to address some of the world’s most pressing global health challenges. The Satellite Center at H3D will work to drive new solutions to address the present and rising threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) with a specific focus on multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria (MDR-GNB).
The establishment of the J&J Centers is a critical step in the creation of a larger, global scientific network that will help stimulate local innovation and support researchers to drive and advance discovery research and development (R&D). Together, teams from the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and H3D will leverage their combined global, institutional and regional strengths to bolster the early-stage science, innovation and talent development needed to tackle AMR, a prevalent threat in Africa and around the world.
“Investing to increase the capacity of the innovation ecosystem in Africa is critical to strengthening the R&D pipeline for entrenched and emerging global health challenges,” said Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Global Public Health R&D at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. “By leveraging the unique strengths of H3D and the J&J Centers, we can cultivate the talent and capacity needed to drive innovation in the global fight against AMR.”
AMR has been named one of the top ten global health threats by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has the power to transform easily treated diseases into deadly killers by rendering medicines and medical innovations ineffective. In 2019, more than 5 million deaths were attributed to AMR, making it one of the leading causes of death worldwide. MDR Gram-negative bacteria are particularly concerning to public health because of their resistance to multiple antibiotics and the limited availability of treatment options. Currently, all three of the resistant bacteria described as critical priority level by the WHO are Gram-negative.
“Antibiotics have been the backbone of modern medicine for more than a century, but increasing resistance threatens to render them ineffective,” said Anil Koul, Ph.D., Vice President of Discovery and Partnerships, Global Public Health R&D at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. “Our innovation in new antibiotic drug discovery must outpace this rising threat, and the new Satellite Center will build on Johnson & Johnson’s legacy in AMR and H3D’s expertise to help deliver this ambition more quickly to people in need.”
The AMR challenge is particularly acute in Africa as well as Asia, where the transmission of pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis (TB), malaria and sexually transmitted infections, coupled with limited data surveillance, has created an environment where significant resistance to antibiotics can develop. Furthermore, local researchers have long faced systemic barriers to accessing the support, resources and infrastructure as well as new technological platforms that are key to tackling significant health challenges like AMR.
“We must come together to advance investment in African-led innovation to protect the health of both our communities and the world,” said Kelly Chibale, Ph.D., Founder and Director of H3D. “It is critical that local researchers have the opportunity to investigate the challenges that impact their communities, without having to leave those communities. Being embedded in local communities, H3D is uniquely positioned to provide this opportunity. This collaboration will further foster the talent and provide the tools and opportunity needed to create innovative solutions in public health.”
About the J&J Centers for Global Health Discovery
Johnson & Johnson is joining forces with renowned institutions and leveraging their regional networks to bolster innovation and health equity in parallel through the establishment of the J&J Centers for Global Health Discovery. The Satellite Centers will provide long-term opportunities for mentorship of emerging talent in the discovery sciences to stimulate both local innovation and capacity.
Johnson & Johnson launched the first Satellite Center in July 2021 at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), which is focused on developing cutting-edge science to build the next-generation of drug regimens needed to treat all forms of tuberculosis (TB). The disease remains one of the most significant challenges in global health, responsible for 1.5 million deaths in 2020 and accounting for nearly one-third of all deaths from AMR.
The risk of intense epidemics is growing rapidly, with the probability of novel disease outbreaks likely to increase three-fold in the coming decades. Despite this, the last decade has seen a consistent decline in funding for basic science. The J&J Centers are an important step in turning this tide and delivering innovations needed to address the diseases that disproportionately impact the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
Additional Satellite Centers will be launched in the future. To learn more, visit jnj.com/global-public-health/discovery-centers.
Johnson & Johnson’s Efforts to Outpace Antimicrobial Resistance
Research at the new Satellite Center will build on Johnson & Johnson’s decades of work accelerating innovation – from the lab to the last mile of healthcare – to outpace the threat of AMR. As a founding member of the AMR Action Fund and AMR Industry Alliance, Johnson & Johnson has committed to investing in and advancing critical science, as well as providing access to antibiotics and safeguarding their long-term effectiveness, to meet public health needs. As part of these efforts, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson are leading the pursuit for novel vaccines and therapeutics to tackle a range of drug-resistant infections, including drug-resistant TB and E. coli.
To learn more, visit, JNJ.com/AMR.
A Deep and Enduring Commitment to Africa
Since Johnson & Johnson first opened its doors in South Africa 90 years ago, the Company has been committed to transforming the health of people living in the country and across the continent, helping lead the charge against some of the most significant health threats in the region, like COVID-19, TB, HIV and Ebola.
Critically, Johnson & Johnson has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by expanding capacity in Africa. In March 2022, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. completed a landmark agreement with Aspen Pharmacare in South Africa to transfer its fill-and-finish manufacturing technology, allowing the first COVID-19 vaccine to be manufactured and sold by an African company for people living in Africa. In addition to building manufacturing capacity, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson included sites in Africa for its COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, supported a large-scale COVID-19 vaccine implementation study in South Africa and was the first major manufacturer to sign a purchase agreement to supply its vaccine to African Union countries.