New year, new deals: J&J partners on 3D-printed meniscus, sleep coaching

J&J Innovation revealed 15 new collaborations, including deals to develop a 3D printed meniscus and a sleep coaching app for babies.

Johnson & Johnson Innovation unveiled 15 new collaborations, boosting its total deal count past 300. Most of the tie-ups surround drug discovery and development, but a few fall on the medical device side—including 3D printing an artificial meniscus and creating a personalized sleep coaching system for babies.

A common knee injury, meniscus tears can be severe enough to require intervention. The meniscus cartilage may be repaired, but some injuries necessitate the partial or complete removal of the meniscus. Since the meniscus absorbs shock and reduces friction in the knee, its removal can raise the incidence of osteoarthritis.

J&J’s orthopedics arm, DePuy Synthes, is teaming up with Aspect Biosystems to create a prototype artificial meniscus, the company said in a statement on Thursday. They will use Aspect’s Lab-on-a-Printer 3D printing tech to develop a meniscal implant that could potentially cut down a patient’s recovery time and improve his or her quality of life after surgery. Aspect has used its technology to 3D print airway smooth muscle tissue.

The Big Pharma has also formed a collaboration with Boston-based Rest Devices to create an app, dubbed Nod, to help parents ensure their babies sleep more soundly. It will combine expert sleep coaching and analytics. Both J&J and Rest Devices have studied the sleep patterns of hundreds of thousands of babies, the former through its baby sleep app and the latter through its Mimo Baby wearable monitor. The pair plans to launch Nod in February.

The other deals J&J announced span several areas, including liver disease, depression, cancer and diabetes. Most notably, the pharma inked a deal with Bird Rock Bio to get its hands on the biotech’s early-stage candidate for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, namacizumab. It’s also teaming with Synthetic Genomics on an RNA technology targeted at infectious disease and cancer as well as with a Medicines for Malaria Venture to research and develop antimalarial injectables.

J&J did not disclose financial terms for any of the deals to FierceBiotech.