The Janssen-Taiwan Project offers an opportunity for ITRI to work with Janssen Biotech on developing novel immunotherapy solutions.
Janssen Biotech, Inc., a subsidiary company of Johnson & Johnson, has acknowledged Taiwan’s strong R&D capabilities in cancer treatments and initiated the Janssen-Taiwan Project. The company, along with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), has provided one million US dollars for a three-year collaboration in which ITRI and Janssen Biotech can jointly work on DNA-Based Dual Functioning Immuno-Oncotherapy for Lung Cancer. This partnership is aimed to help Taiwan have a head start on the new biotech drug market.
Janssen Biotech is dedicated to research on early treatment of diseases. With the objective to integrate novel therapeutics and business models and seek better treatment results, the company is actively investing in Taiwan’s biotech industries. On the other hand, ITRI has long been working in preventive and precision medicine. For example, its magnetic beads manufacturing technology iKNOBEADS can be used in immunotherapy for cancer, making it a winner of a 2019 R&D100 Award and a 2020 Edison Award.
The Janssen-Taiwan collaboration is the first joint funding project between Taiwan’s biomedicine R&D sector and an international pharmaceutical company, setting a new example on how Taiwan can connect to the global community. ITRI and Janssen Biotech launched the Janssen-Taiwan Grant Call Project in 2018, initiating a series of pharmaceutical R&D partnerships between Taiwan and the U.S. In 2019, ITRI’s DNA-Based Dual Functioning Immuno-Oncotherapy for Lung Cancer was selected and awarded R&D grants by this project. This technology integrates tumor targeting functions with multiple immunoregulation, and initial validations have shown that it can effectively increase cancer recovery rates.
This year’s Janssen-Taiwan grant call (2020), which completed proposal collection in mid-June, specifically focuses on the proposals of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, covering the following technical areas: (1) lung cancer and the related application of AI; (2) prevention of infectious diseases; (3) detection, diagnosis and prevention of pediatric diseases; (4) adult disease prevention and the related application of AI and big data. It is expected that the project can yield fruitful results this year.
Johnson & Johnson’s Senior Director of Asian Society for Innovation & Achievement (A.S.I.A.) Ming-De Xia expressed that in 2015 Janssen Biotech set up the Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA), which includes platforms for data, ethology, microbiome, wearable medical devices, and the immune system, forming an array of product chains. Currently the focal point is on four initiatives: Type 1 Diabetes, Lung Cancer, Colon Cancer, and Healthy Baby, and collaborations with Taiwan are mainly on lung and colon cancers. He stressed that hopefully the cooperation between Janssen Biotech and ITRI can help more patients improve wellness through active disease prevention.