By Paul Stoffels, Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson
Biotechnology has come a long way since the discovery of recombinant DNA almost 40 years ago and the sequencing of the human genome a decade ago. Today, the term has a broader definition: biomarkers, antibodies, genomics, protemics, RNA, novel scaffolds, peptides, cell therapies, and more, all to help us solve the most important diseases of our time. One example of such an advance is the treatment of angiogenesis, the process of new blood vessel formation that plays a key role in cancer proliferation and a number of other diseases. These treatments have improved the lives of millions of patients.
Dr. Napoleone Ferrara, Genentech Fellow, has been influential in the development of anti-angiogenesis treatments. Through the identification of a human vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF), he discovered there may be a ways to control the blood supply to particular parts of the body. His innovative work on angiogenesis opened the door to the development of a new class of therapeutics to combat a serious eye disorder and contributed to the development of new oncology therapeutics.
Today Johnson & Johnson honored Dr. Napoleone Ferrara with the 2011 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, an award that recognizes passionate and creative scientists like Dr. Ferrara whose achievements have had a profound effect on human health. Achievements like this set the pace for future advances in biotechnology that will further improve the lives’ of patients. On the eve of the final day of the BIO International Convention in Washington DC, I am hopeful for the future and the advancements that will surely come along in the future.
At Johnson & Johnson we aspire to advance treatment by integrating diagnostics, therapeutics, biomarkers, and imaging and medical devices. We hope to inspire the external research community through the award and the legacy of Dr. Paul Janssen, one of the 20th century’s most innovative and inspiring pharmaceutical researchers, to continue the advancement of treatment through biotechnology, so that 40 years from now, we will again be able to reflect on innovations that have saved millions more lives.