Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies has opened segments of its molecular library to researchers through collaborations aimed at accelerating new treatments for neglected diseases and pandemic threats, J&J Innovation announced today.

Those diseases and threats, says J&J Innovation, include tuberculosis, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, and other diseases prevalent in the developing world.

J&J’s Janssen Pharmaceutica has established collaborations allowing research partners to access its molecular library of 80,000 chemical compounds, with the goal of identifying promising drug candidates and advancing their development.

The collaboration will be facilitated through WIPO Re:Search, the international research consortium led by the nonprofit BIO Ventures for Global Health, and the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization.

J&J Innovation said three key institutions and programs have already accessed the molecular library. One is the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which has designed screens to identify compounds from the library that can potentially kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the etiologic agent of tuberculosis (TB), with the goal of developing these compounds into new drugs for TB patients.

Janssen is also collaborating on TB research with Washington University in St. Louis and the University of California, Berkeley.

Also tapping into Janssen’s molecular library is the Center for Discovery and Innovation in Parasitic Diseases at the University of California, San Diego. The Center and Janssen Discovery Sciences are working to develop Chagas disease therapies by applying CRISPR technology with the library and other resources, J&J Innovation said.

Janssen will use the high-throughput Plasmodium falciparum assay platform of Australia’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research to identify a novel class of small molecules from the library with the requisites of a drug-like scaffold to treat malaria. The Institute and Janssen will partner to select the most promising compounds for further development, J&J Innovation said.

J&J Innovation also said various J&J entities have launched five additional collaborations with partners in areas that include new treatments for obesity and arthritis.

J&J’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals will partner with University of California San Diego School of Medicine to identify pathways and mechanisms driving disease progression, as well as clinically useful biomarkers, therapeutic targets, and gastric bypass approaches.

The partners anticipate developing improved treatments for obesity and related conditions, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), chronic kidney disease (CKD), metabolic liver disease, and additional obesity-related conditions. Projects will include exploration of animal and cell models of NASH and CKD, discovery of mechanisms invoked by bariatric surgery, disease-related biomarkers, and novel therapeutic targets.

J&J’s Janssen Biotech has teamed up with Monash University to discover and develop biologic next-generation therapeutics to treat, prevent, and intercept rheumatoid arthritis. Janssen and Monash have formed a multiyear collaboration and have prenegotiated an option-to-license agreement, J&J Innovation said.

In the other three collaborations, J&J’s Johnson & Johnson Services will focus on 3D printing with Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinout Inkbit; J&J Vision Care will help develop improved contact lenses with the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada; and J&J Consumer will look to improve manufacturing process efficiency with coating technology developer SLIPS Technologies.

J&J Innovation also announced that Clarity Genomics has joined its JLINX incubator. Clarity is developing a platform designed to learn how human microbiome communities interact with the host through analysis of genetic, functional, and metabolic data, and then apply that knowledge toward biomarker discovery and patient stratification.

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