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Janssen, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Announce Collaboration With Belgian Scientists To Pursue New Research In Neurodegenerative Diseases

Effort Advances Company’s Global Healthy Minds Initiative

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Beerse, Belgium (May 29, 2013) – Janssen Research & Development, Division of Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation today announced the launch of a collaborative initiative with scientists from three prominent Belgian academic institutions and research centers to drive discoveries to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Janssen Research & Development and Johnson & Johnson Innovation are committing up to 5 million Euros for this project over a five-year period.

The project seeks to attract top researchers in the Benelux scientific community to submit proposals for cutting-edge research in neurodegenerative disorders.

Janssen Research & Development will collaborate initially with KU Leuven, University Hospitals Leuven and VIB( Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie) to create opportunities for collaborative research, and will invite other academic institutions to join the project as its next phase begins later this year.

This effort advances the Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Healthy Minds initiative, which strives to accelerate progress in the fight against neurologic and brain disorders and to build on the companies’ longstanding commitment to neuroscience and mental health.

At Janssen Research & Development, we are deeply committed to patients with neurodegenerative diseases and to family members and health care professionals who care for them,” said Husseini Manji, MD, Global Head, Neuroscience. “We believe that collaboration with external innovators is essential to drive the types of discoveries that will bring forth the treatments and preventive strategies of tomorrow for neurodegenerative diseases.”

“At Johnson & Johnson Innovation, accelerating the most promising early-stage science in collaboration with leading academic centers around the world is how we will contin ue to make improvements in the health and well-being of people worldwide,” commented Patrick Verheyen, the head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation in London.

The aim of the initiative is to gain deeper insight into these diseases and accelerate delivery of breakthrough options to prevent, diagnose and treat them, ultimately helping patients to live better lives.

A ceremony to celebrate the launch of the initiative is planned for May 29 at Arenberg Castle in Heverlee, Belgium. Dr. Mark Waer, rector of the KU Leuven and his successor, Professor Rik Torfs, as well as representatives from the Belgian government, will participate in the event at Arenberg Castle.

For more information about the initiative and the submission process, please visit

About Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the gradual, progressive death of neurons, leading to a loss of function of the nervous system. Although there are hundreds of neurodegenerative diseases, among the most prominent are Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

With age as the greatest risk factor for many neurodegenerative diseases, the world’s rapidly aging population urgently needs more treatment options and cures. While approved drugs, to some extent, alleviate symptoms of several neurodegenerative diseases, their chronic use is often associated with debilitating side effects, and none seems to stop the progression of the degenerative process.

The development of effective therapies has been impeded by our limited knowledge of the causes and the mechanisms by which neurons die in neurodegenerative diseases. Consequently, a better understanding of these mechanisms has the potential to lead to new treatment options.

About Janssen Research & Development, Division of Janssen Pharmaceutica NV
At Janssen Research & Development, we are united and energized by one mission - to discover and develop innovative medicines that ease patients’ suffering, and solve the most important unmet medical needs of our time. As one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, our strategy is to identify the biggest unmet medical needs and match them with the best science, internal or external, to find solutions for patients worldwide. We leverage our world-class discovery and development expertise, and operational excellence, to bring innovative, effective treatments in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. For more information on Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, visit For information on our global Janssen Research & Development organization, visit

About J&J Innovation
Johnson & Johnson Innovation Division of Johnson & Johnson Finance Limited is based in London. Johnson & Johnson Innovation focuses on accelerating early innovation and enhancing opportunities for collaboration and investment across Johnson & Johnson’s global healthcare businesses. Johnson & Johnson Innovation provides scientists, entrepreneurs and emerging companies focused on early-stage opportunities a one-stop access to science and technology experts who can facilitate collaborations across the pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics and consumer companies of Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson Innovation includes local deal-making capabilities with the flexibility to adapt deal structures to match early-stage opportunities and establish novel collaborations that speed development of those innovations to solve unmet needs in patients. For more information, please visit:

About Healthy Minds
Healthy Minds was launched in 2011 by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies to encourage collaboration among biotechnology, pharmaceutical and public-sector partners to accelerate the discovery of new therapeutic solutions for neurologic and brain diseases. For more than 50 years, Janssen has discovered, developed and launched many innovative treatments for brain and central nervous system conditions and remains firmly committed to neuroscience. Each year Janssen commits funding to public and professional education about mental illness and brain disorders, and sponsorships and philanthropy in the field of neuroscience and mental health.

Frederik Wittock
Senior Director
Janssen Research & Development
T: +32(0)14 60 57 24
M: +32(0) 476 92 50 77

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