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Johnson & Johnson Innovation Announces Five-Year Alliance with Boston University to Accelerate Vision of World Without Lung Cancer

Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC today announced a five-year alliance with Boston University, an internationally recognized research university and member of the Association of American Universities, that will help accelerate the vision of creating a world without lung cancer.   As part of the alliance, a Johnson & Johnson Innovation Lung Cancer Center at Boston University will be established, allowing close collaboration between Boston University investigators and members of the Lung Cancer Initiative within Johnson & Johnson to work together to develop solutions that prevent, intercept and cure lung cancer.  Avrum Spira, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Bioinformatics, Boston University has joined Johnson & Johnson Innovation as Global Head, Lung Cancer Initiative, Johnson & Johnson, and will direct the new center.

"Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, and the healthcare burden and costs associated with the disease are substantial," said Bill Hait, M.D., Ph.D. Global Head, External Innovation, Johnson & Johnson.  "We recently formed a cross-sector lung cancer initiative dedicated to transforming the standard of care for this devastating disease.   We are excited to be collaborating with Boston University in this important mission and bringing the research and development expertise of our consumer, medical device, and pharmaceutical groups together to address this critical need for patients around the world."

Lung cancer is the greatest killer of U.S. men and women from cancer and more people die of lung cancer than from colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.1  The worldwide incidence remains high and is growing in certain regions and among women.2 In China, for example, 730,000 new cases of lung cancer were reported in 2015 and the disease incidence is expected to rise.3 Compounding the problem of high incidence is low survival rates.  Lung cancer's five-year survival rate (17.8%) is much lower than that of other common cancers.4

"To address the major clinical needs of this disease, as well as its economic impact, a new approach is needed," said Avrum Spira, M.D.  "Building solutions that prevent and intercept disease requires very close collaboration between academic researchers and industry.  We need better and more rapid alignment of discovery with clinical application and development experience to bring forward important new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.  The alliance with Boston University and other collaborations around the world will help identify novel technologies and approaches that support this new vision."

The alliance seeks to build upon collaborative programs related to three extensive lung cancer research studies.  Two studies, which involve cohorts of military personnel, seek to enable the development, integra