Janssen adds COPD and diabetes to its venture portfolio for preventative medicine

Janssen, the pharma unit of J&J ($JNJ), has signed up two more therapy areas to its unique Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA) program as it continues to look for future growth and deals from new places.

The new research pacts see Janssen join forces with the Boston University School of Medicine to identify disease pathways associated with COPD.

It will also team up with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore to focus on finding biomarkers in gestational diabetes.

These agreements have been established through the DIA--a research unit focused on the prediction and prevention of diseases. 

These latest deals are the most recent of 24 total collaborations the DIA has signed since its inception just over a year ago. Other collabs from the DIA include targets for type I diabetes, presbyopia/cataracts, oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer/cervical cancer and perinatal depression. 

"We are excited about the tremendous progress in implementing our venture strategies during our first year of operation, focusing on disease areas with high unmet need and unique interception opportunities," said Ben Wiegand, head of the DIA at Janssen.

"Partnerships, like those we have forged with Boston University School of Medicine and A*STAR today, provide critical access to expertise at leading global scientific centers, and advance our research to realize disease interception as a viable strategy to achieving better health for future generations."

The DIA's mission is to capitalize on the rapidly growing understanding of how each person's genetic makeup predicts their risk of disease, and then create ways to stop these conditions.

The approach is novel as the end result may not always be the creation of a new drug as it could be a consumer product, a device or a vaccine.

Each venture has been selected by the firm based upon high unmet need, as well as dovetailing with Janssen's research expertise and being used to help with its own internal science projects.   

The DIA is also aimed at helping Janssen find growth and innovation in new and different places, and builds on the biotech incubator program it's been running since 2012, which creates a city-site hub to help startups get off the ground.

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