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Collaborating with Innovators in Japan to Create a World Without Disease

Following the successful launch of the 2020 World Without Disease Call-for-Proposal facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, four research collaborations have been executed by the World Without Disease Accelerator (WWDA) of Janssen Research & Development, LLC in areas across lung cancer, infant/child health and myopia.

From nearly 80 proposals received, 12 finalists were selected—including the following four innovators that proceeded to execute collaboration agreements with Janssen R&D—to receive mentoring and coaching on their respective research plan development and final pitch presentations.

  • National Cancer Center Japan (NCC): To enable the early diagnosis and interception of lung cancer, the WWDA is working closely with the Lung Cancer Initiative (LCI) at Johnson & Johnson to identify and profile miRNA biomarkers and understand their role in early-stage lung cancer and tumor formation. Through the collaboration with the NCC, the groups will be able to assess results from an East-Asian cohort, which offers the opportunity to bridge the data between Western and East Asian populations, accelerating identification of robust miRNA-based biomarkers and facilitating discovery of new treatment targets.

  • Metabologenomics: Under guidance and mentorship by the WWDA’s Healthy Baby Initiative and the Johnson & Johnson Innovation team, the project with Metabologenomics will further explore the role of microbial short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in infant gut health and allergies and will aim to provide parents with data that can translate into recommendations for reducing allergy risk in children. The Japan-based company will develop a dysbiosis biosensor for at-home use, the MG Chip™, which will measure SCFAs in feces. The biosensor will provide infant caretakers with real-time insight, through a mobile App, into an infant’s gut health that is intended to allow for more informed decisions on the nutrients or supplements that the infant may need in order to reduce the risk of allergic conditions.

  • Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo: Also in collaboration with the Health Baby Initiative of WWDA, the Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, is developing and validating an at-home biosensor to predict childhood food allergies. It is hoped that the non-invasive diagnostic biomarker will deliver results in less than 30 minutes and has the potential to bring about a paradigm shift in predicting symptoms for patients with food allergy, enabling appropriate intervention.

  • University of Tsukuba: To meet the unmet need of an accurate prediction model of myopia progression, Johnson & Johnson Vision will work with University of Tsukuba to develop a prediction algorithm for myopia progression in teenagers and young adults (6 to 20 years old) using artificial intelligence. It is believed that predicting future progression of myopia will help to better explain the risk of high myopia and determine the need for therapeutic intervention. In addition, the results of the simulation could help to evaluate the effects of different treatments provided to patients for myopia control.

The 2020 World Without Disease Call-for-Proposal was organized in conjunction with Janssen R&D, Shonan Health Innovation Park and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.

These four resulting agreements are a testament to the value that Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s global network can offer to accelerate novel technologies and solutions for unmet needs in Asia and the world. Read more on the 2020 awardees here.