Sometimes, big opportunities spring from the smallest seeds—or in the case of a landmark call to action from the White House today—bugs.
The bugs I’m talking about are the trillions of microbes that live in and on us, collectively known as the human microbiome.
Throughout medical history, we saw these microbiota as the enemy—a source of illness to be eradicated. Yet recent discoveries have revealed that the microbiome plays a unique and crucial role in disease and wellness.
Today, microbiome science is exploding, with advances occurring in parallel across many disease areas. At Janssen, we believe the microbiome presents an unprecedented opportunity to change the face and future of healthcare, and we are seeking to use these tiny bugs in big ways to not only treat disease, but also to intercept illness and promote health.
The Microbiome Gets a Funding Boost
We are certainly not alone in our quest.
Today, the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) announced The National Microbiome Initiative to prioritize funding and other resources to realize the promise of microbiome science.
To translate today’s exciting efforts into interventions to improve human health, the life science industry has a unique opportunity to evolve and accelerate novel drug discovery and develop approaches that are potentially more natural and personalized.
New clinical development models, regulatory pathways and intellectual property protection will be critical to catalyze and sustain innovation in this promising discipline—and they’re all areas where we look to help. With today’s announcement, we are moving forward with strong support to pave a new path for future microbiome-based health interventions and therapeutics.
The Janssen Human Microbiome Institute (JHMI), representing the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, is honored to be included in this announcement, among a distinguished group of organizations shaping the field. The collaborative approach embodied by the diverse stakeholders supporting the OSTP’s microbiome initiative is core to JHMI. After all, our approach is to work alongside academics, biotechs and entrepreneurs, and together advance the most promising early-stage innovation into tomorrow’s treatments and diagnostics that can make a dramatic difference in the health of people around the world.
With more than five years of microbiome expertise and a focus in such disease areas as inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases, Janssen is uniquely qualified to advance science and partner with innovators seeking to deliver microbiome-based therapies to patients.
We hope others share our excitement for what this landmark microbiome announcement represents for the future of scientific innovation and healthcare.
To learn more, check out the Janssen Human Microbiome Institute.
Dirk Gevers, Ph.D., is Global Head of the Janssen Human Microbiome Institute (JHMI). The JHMI is dedicated to accelerating the translation of microbiome science into interventions that will transform human health.