J&J research chief urges 'open innovation' approach

Paul Stoffels, the head of drug R&D at Johnson & Johnson, is recommending a new recipe for research. In a conversation with the Wall Street Journal, he recommends that developers adopt an 'open innovation' approach to their work. Rather than hole up in their own labs, suggests Stoffels, researchers need to learn how to collaborate more with biotech companies and academic researchers.

"All simple diseases have been solved," Stoffels told the Journal. "The next-generation drugs, therapies, are much more complex... You need much more information and science than what you can get out of your own internal labs."

And he offered up an example of how it's worked for him. After failing in an attempt to advance new therapies for HIV, Stoffels had to admit defeat. But he went on to team up with hospitals and other teams who helped discover Prezista and Intelence. The key to success: "Building networks where together with a number of different groups you come up with solutions to solve different medical needs."

Given Big Pharma's poor track record for coming up with new drugs to replace the ones that are about to lose patent protection, Stoffels' case is likely to win over others in the field.

- read the report in the Wall Street Journal