Janssen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation establish research collaboration with the University of Toronto

Neuroscience Catalyst to Focus on Mood Disorders and Alzheimer’s Disease

Janssen

Janssen Inc. (Janssen) today announced it has signed an agreement, facilitated by the Johnson & Johnson Innovation center in California, with the University of Toronto’s Centre for Collaborative Drug Research (CCDR) to form an open-source collaboration focused on novel therapeutic approaches to the treatment and management of mood disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.

The research project, called Neuroscience Catalyst, represents an innovative collaboration between industry, academia and the research community. Neuroscience Catalyst will help identify medical and scientific opportunities in early-stage development, which can progress to clinical treatment for brain disorders.
“Collaborating with the University of Toronto to advance the study of mood disorders and Alzheimer’s disease demonstrates Janssen’s ongoing commitment to investing in early-stage research and meeting unmet patient needs,” said Paul Kershaw, M.D., F.A.A.N., Vice President, Medical Affairs, Janssen Canada. “This agreement supports medical research and development in Canada, which is fundamental to the sustainability of our healthcare system.”
Participating researchers will have access to cutting-edge drug discovery tools and information, as well as access to Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Janssen R&D resources, thereby facilitating research progress. The University of Toronto will co-fund the research and create a structure for soliciting and evaluating proposals from researchers, including from other academic hospitals and research institutions, as well as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

“We are delighted to collaborate with the University of Toronto on the Neuroscience Catalyst program which deepens our commitment to the translation of exciting new concepts in the field of Neuroscience drug discovery research,” said Husseini K. Manji, M.D., FRCPC, Global Therapeutic Area Head, Neuroscience, Janssen R&D, LLC. “Working with some of the world’s best neuroscience researchers based in Canada, this collaboration with will further our understanding of mood disorders such as depression as well as Alzheimer’s disease.”

Representatives from the University of Toronto and Janssen will form a Joint Steering Committee to review research proposals and provide recommendations to the CCDR for external review and approval. The Committee will also provide scientific oversight, advice on funded research and will monitor the progress of and review results arising from the research. The first call for proposals will be issued in November.

“As its name suggests, this collaboration will be a catalyst for the discovery of new therapeutics targeted at mental health and neurodegenerative disorders,” said Professor Ruth Ross, Ph.D., Director, Centre for Collaborative Drug Research, Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Toronto and Senior Scientist, Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, CAMH. “Conditions such as dementia and depression affect hundreds of millions worldwide, and that number is rising. By working together in an open innovation partnership, we can conduct the basic research needed to identify new therapeutic options for patients.”

Reza Moridi, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation added, “Partnerships between talented researchers and innovative companies lead to advances beyond what any of us could accomplish working alone. I applaud the collaboration between the University of Toronto, Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Innovation. Thanks to the visionary work of these organizations, Ontario will continue to lead life sciences discoveries that result in better mental health and quality of life for everyone.”

Source: Janssen Inc Press, CNW – Toronto, Canada―8 September, 2014
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