Our aspiration of better health for all guides us to advance inclusive access to healthcare. This includes helping alleviate the burden of diseases that impact our most underserved populations. We have a track record of investing R&D resources in and supporting access to treatment to effectively combat soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH), known as intestinal worms, dengue, river blindness and other diseases.
Janssen shares 80,000 chemical compounds from its Jump-stARter molecular library with the global research community to help collaborators accelerate treatment and prevention of NTDs, along with TB, malaria, and other diseases common in the developing world.
Progress in combating STH: In 2019, we committed to the World Health Organization (WHO) to extending our annual 200 million dose donation of our intestinal worms treatment VERMOX CHEWABLE (mebendazole chewable 500mg tablets) through 2025. The treatment will target both pre-school and school-aged children in developing countries. The WHO coordinates endemic country requests for drug orders, which Johnson & Johnson then fulfills. With this contribution, the progress against combating STH infections will continue, and children in the world’s poorest countries will be able to achieve their full potential and thrive. The new VERMOX CHEWABLE formulation was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016 and received WHO Prequalification in April 2019. By 2021, the donation will be fully transitioned from the solid tablet to the new chewable formulation, and allows one tablet for all ages down to one-year-olds.
Beyond drug donations, Johnson & Johnson is working with partners to identify sustainable solutions to combat intestinal worms longer term. These include improving diagnostics for STH and providing funding to support the development of national monitoring and evaluation frameworks to allow for better data collection, more informed decision-making, and ultimately, targeted therapeutic interventions that have the potential to control intestinal worms in endemic countries.
In late 2019, the VERMOX CHEWABLE was introduced into 11 different countries. Peru was the first country globally to receive VERMOX CHEWABLE as part of mass drug administration campaigns.
Progress in combating dengue: The aim of our dengue program is to develop a potent, first-in-class antiviral for the prevention of dengue, both for travelers and vulnerable populations living in dengue-endemic areas. In 2019, we completed a Phase I (First-in-Human) trial for a new treatment in partnership with the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation, and the University of Leuven in Belgium. The trial yielded positive outcomes. We submitted a prepackage of our Investigational New Drug (IND) application for our new treatment and expect to deliver our final IND application in 2020. Our approach includes the development of a model to predict dengue outbreak areas four weeks ahead of time in support of the clinical development program.