‘I Have a Vision for Helping Advance Healthcare’: Meet 6 Leaders Working on Inspiring Innovations in 2020

Originally published on jnj.com.

From robotics solutions for orthopedic surgery to the potential to bring new hope to patients living with multiple myeloma through CAR-T, these are just some of the cutting-edge projects that these visionaries think could potentially help propel healthcare forward around the globe.

s 2019 came to a close, we asked top leaders from across Johnson & Johnson—who oversee everything from the company’s pharmaceutical and consumer products to its Global Public Health initiatives—to share what promising healthcare innovations their teams have been working on that have the potential to help truly change the lives of people around the world in 2020.

We think their answers will inspire, and perhaps even surprise, you as we look to usher in a happy, healthy new year.

Jennifer TaubertExecutive Vice President, Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals

“At the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, we have a number of promising transformational therapies in development. One I’m particularly excited about is CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy) to treat multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. Despite some new therapies now available, there were almost 160,000 new cases of this devastating disease worldwide in 2018, with more than 106,000 deaths. Clearly, there is still significant unmet patient need for additional treatment options.

CAR-T is an innovative and highly specialized therapy because it harnesses the power of a patient’s own immune system. A patient’s T-cells—a type of white blood cell that helps protect the body from pathogens—are extracted, reengineered outside the body to attack multiple myeloma cells then reinfused back into the patient. The FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for our investigational BCMA CAR-T therapy (known as JNJ-4528). And we’re encouraged by the early results from the Phase 1b/2 CARTITUDE-1 study, which were presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in December 2019.

Our CAR-T program is an outstanding example of how we look to advance life-changing innovations by sourcing the most promising science and ideas from around the world. When our Janssen scientists heard early results by China-based Legend Biotech about its research in CAR-T, our team moved quickly to take a closer look. This led to the strong partnership and collaboration that exists today to further develop its potential to bring new hope to patients living with multiple myeloma.

I’m looking forward to what the future will bring.”

Ashley McEvoyExecutive Vice President, Worldwide Chairman, Medical Devices

“Our team is working to make medical interventions smarter, less invasive and more personalized through digital innovation in specialty surgery, orthopedics and general surgery—and there’s a lot I’m excited about.

With the Auris Monarch™ platform, we see great potential in addressing unmet needs in lung cancer and other indications, including endourology and gastrointestinal endoscopy.

With our orthopedic robotics solution, part of our Velys™ Digital Surgery platform, we’ll connect surgeons and patients before, during and after surgery to improve outcomes, reduce costs, improve efficiency and accuracy and reduce the burden on surgeons and staff during orthopedic surgery.

And we’re continuing to progress our digital surgery platform for general surgery with Verb Surgical, combining best-in-class robotics, advanced instrumentation and unparalleled end-to-end connectivity. This is about changing the standard of care for patients for the next 10, 20, 30 years and beyond … and we’re just getting started.”

This year kicks off our commitment to ensuring an investment of more than $500 million over the next four years in discovery, development and delivery of programs to eliminate HIV and tuberculosis by 2030.

Thibaut MongonExecutive Vice President, Worldwide Chairman, Consumer Health

“At Consumer Health, we are excited about the opportunity to pair our products with digital solutions that offer behavior coaching and artificial intelligence to help each consumer’s unique journey.

One example of this is the new Neutrogena Skin360TM app, which is debuting at the Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas next week.

This solution empowers consumers with actionable, personalized steps to achieve their skin health goals and is the foundation for a pipeline of hyper-personalized diagnostics and skincare solutions.”

Melinda RichterGlobal Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS

“In 2020, JLABS will expand to our nation’s capital, where, in partnership with Children’s National Hospital, we will shine a brighter light on the critical unmet medical needs for our babies and children. Together we will revitalize the old Walter Reed Campus, returning it to its original purpose in serving patients and, in this case, signifying Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to children’s health. This campus will also include an outpatient hospital, academic and federal research centers, and a community environment to host many local stakeholders, including the FDA, Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services and the National Institutes of Health.

We’re also teaming with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a dedicated innovation unit for the advancement of medical countermeasures against 21st-century health security threats, in addition to pandemics and epidemics. Together with BARDA, Johnson & Johnson will also host think tanks, summits and fellowships on innovation and health policy in the hopes of creating a shared mindset of how we, as an industry, can create and deliver accessible innovation for people all over the world.

As the future home of 50-plus start-ups focusing on preventing, intercepting and treating diseases, may JLABS @ Washington, DC, bring hope and comfort to moms, dads and their families, in addition to the many doctors and nurses who serve our children and protect our communities every day. It is undeniable that, here, Johnson & Johnson will have a deep impact on healthcare, and on many little lives, in 2020—and well beyond.”

Jaak PeetersGlobal Head, Global Public Health, Johnson & Johnson

“I am hugely optimistic about our potential to have a transformational impact in global health because of the explosion of science and technology. This year kicks off our commitment to ensuring an investment of more than $500 million over the next four years in discovery, development and delivery of programs to eliminate HIV and tuberculosis by 2030.

Our dedicated team of world-class researchers will leverage our scientific resources and capabilities to accelerate the advancement of next-generation medicines and vaccines—and we will further enhance our efforts to ensure that both existing and new innovations reach as many patients as possible, as quickly as possible.

Driving forward this year with our partners, we will ultimately achieve our shared vision: to make HIV and TB history.”

Paul Stoffels, M.D.Chief Scientific Officer

“In my role as Johnson & Johnson Chief Scientific Officer, I am often asked for predictions about what healthcare could look like in 10, 20 or even more years from now. In response, I share my vision of a world where many diseases can be cured and even prevented from happening. I am confident that we can achieve many advances necessary to make this vision a reality. Just look how far we’ve come in the last several decades.

In healthcare, the research and development process can take years and sometimes decades. For some of our R&D teams, 2020 will be the beginning of a journey toward innovations that we will bring to patients and consumers in the years ahead; for other teams, it will be the year they finally see their labors reach those who have been waiting for new solutions.

We are excited to keep moving forward transformational innovations across a broad spectrum of science and technology, from personalized cancer therapies to robotic surgery to new consumer health solutions. These advances excite me about the future of health, and the role our company can play in changing the trajectory of health for humanity.”

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