Johnson & Johnson Innovation announces S$5.1 Million in research grants

Johnson & Johnson Innovation, a Division of Johnson & Johnson (China) Investment Ltd., announced on 28 February 2018 the three finalists that will receive S$5.1 million (~US$3.9 million) in support of research projects for up to three years through the Johnson & Johnson Innovation World Without Disease Grant Call Collaboration with the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR).

“We received exceptional applications, and our three grant recipients represent forward-thinking approaches to address diseases with significant burden in Asia Pacific and around the world,” said Benjamin Wiegand, Global Head, World Without Disease Accelerator, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. “These proposals to pursue potentially transformational innovations demonstrate how discovery, translation and big data can be applied in seeking novel approaches to prevent, intercept, and cure diseases.”

Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and A*STAR initiated the World Without Disease Grant Call to support life science innovation in Singapore and advance the discovery and development of solutions to prevent, intercept and cure diseases. Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Janssen and A*STAR selected the following organizations to receive grants from more than 40 highly-qualified applicants from Singapore’s public sector. The winning applications seek to pursue novel approaches in the areas of eye health, cancer, and liver disease. Funding will be equally distributed from Janssen and A*STAR.

  1. Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI)
    A team from SERI will study light and outdoor patterns for the prevention of myopia. The disorder affects 83% of young Singaporean adults, and data from this study has the potential to inform health policy and shape school and community outdoor programs.
  2. Singapore Immunology Network, p53 Laboratory, National University of Singapore, and National Cancer Centre Singapore
    A team from these organizations will study a novel antibody with the potential to benefit the several millions of people living with cancer who are believed to have a faulty p53 pathway despite having a normal p53 gene.
  3. Genome Institute of Singapore and National University Health System
    A team from these organizations will conduct a program which aims at detecting Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) early in the development, allowing timely disease interception and the potential to reverse liver damage. NAFLD is a disease associated with metabolic syndrome that is increasing in prevalence and currently affects up to 40% of the population in Singapore.

The World Without Disease Grant Call sought solutions that have the potential to improve the health of people around the world, particularly in disease areas related to lung health, cancer, obesity and related disorders, and eye health. Applicants were evaluated based on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Tackle a problem that imposes a meaningful burden on patients or the healthcare system and propose solutions that would potentially transform the way the disease is treated.
  • Base an approach on a hypothesis related to a disease cause, leading to the identification of people at risk for the disease, determination of triggers for disease, methods of monitoring disease initiation, and/or development of potential interventions.
  • Demonstrate a path to de-risk key questions resulting in both quick decisions and a transformational approach for the disease state.

The World Without Disease Grant Call is the latest investment that Johnson & Johnson Innovation has made in Asia Pacific to support scientists, entrepreneurs, and emerging companies with the resources, tools and funding needed to address unmet patient needs.

“Asia Pacific is a world-leading innovation hotspot with strong capabilities in healthcare research and a steady increase of research funding in the fields of science, technology and innovation. With the region’s aging population and growing burden of disease, our team understands the importance of investing in innovative solutions today to address tomorrow’s healthcare challenges,” said Dan Wang, Head of Asia Pacific Innovation Center of Johnson & Johnson Innovation. “We look forward to seeing impactful work completed by the World Without Disease Grant Call recipients over the next three years, and extend our gratitude to A*STAR for their strategic partnership in this novel approach.”

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