Johnson & Johnson has a legacy of more than 130 years of impacting human health through scientific research and innovation. We pursue breakthroughs in science and technology in our own laboratories and through our powerful network of external scientists and entrepreneurs all over the world. We combine a strong internal focus on science and scientific insight, drug creation, drug development and strategic value building, with external complementary partnerships that have the greatest potential to fulfill our mission of improving human health.
We advance innovation at Johnson & Johnson through:
- A differentiated research & development engine with excellence in specific areas of science and medicine, with a focus on data science as a key differentiator;
- Early innovation partnering teams, who seek and cultivate external innovation opportunities from around the world, aligned with Johnson & Johnson scientific and business priorities;
- Flexible, customized deals; partnership models; and collaborations facilitated by our regional innovation centers and global business development teams;
- Incubation space and mentorship for hundreds of startups through Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JLABS;
- Strategic venture capital through Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JJDC, Inc.; and
- Building a differentiated and fully integrated R&D data science team to help discover and develop transformational medicines and treatment solutions.
Celebrating Our Innovators
Across Johnson & Johnson, we celebrate the achievements of our tens of thousands of scientists, researchers, engineers, designers and clinicians who are dedicated to driving innovation for the benefit of our patients and consumers. The Johnson Medal for Research and Development6 is the most prestigious award given for R&D excellence within our Company. Since 1960, 423 scientists and engineers from our three business segments have received this award, representing a proud legacy of innovation at Johnson & Johnson.
The winning teams of 2021 included 26 innovators who delivered four breakthrough solutions:
- COVID-19 vaccine: Building on learnings from the development of our Ebola vaccine as well as our HIV HIV Human immunodeficiency virus , Zika and RSV RSV Respiratory syncytial virus vaccine candidates, the team led an ambitious and unprecedented collaborative research and development effort to create a single-shot COVID-19 vaccine.
- Diagnostic tool for atrial arrhythmia: The team developed Coherent Mapping, an advancement in 3D mapping technology that offers a solution to assist in the diagnosis of scar-related complex atrial arrhythmia. Multicenter study results overwhelmingly illustrate the value of Coherent Mapping, now part of the CARTO PRIME Module, for physicians as an integral part of mapping challenging arrhythmias.
- Optimized treatment for multiple myeloma: The Janssen Oncology team modified the successful intravenous immunotherapy DARZALEX (daratumumab) to create DARZALEX FASPRO (daratumumab and hyaluronidase-fihj), a subcutaneous injection to transform the care of patients with multiple myeloma with a substantially shorter administration time of approximately three to five minutes compared to the DARZALEX IV formulation.
- Novel peptide to deliver skincare benefits: Working over eight years, the team optimized a novel peptide, acetyl dipeptide, that is small enough to penetrate the skin and effectively deliver anti-aging benefits such as lifting, contouring and firming for consumers, including those with sensitive skin.
Recognizing external public health innovation: In addition to recognizing the achievements of Johnson & Johnson innovators, in 2021, we granted a $5 million endowment to Research!America to create an annual award to recognize individuals and organizations working to make a profound difference in public health. This new category of awards will be presented annually as part of the Research!America Advocacy Awards Program, now in its 26th year. Johnson & Johnson is a founding member of the Research!America alliance, which launched in 1989. This year’s winners include leaders who are addressing major health challenges, from smoking cessation to diversity in clinical trials to fueling collaboration to advance solutions for COVID-19.
Data Science & Digital Health
Data science and digital health are fundamentally changing the face of healthcare. We are building a world class team that is fully integrated with all parts of R&D. We are assembling vast datasets into a data lab, and, in-house or with partners, developing advanced analytical methods including AI AI Artificial intelligence and machine learning, to analyze these data to solve problems that make our R&D teams more effective and efficient, and often enable earlier delivery of new possibilities.
We are increasingly leveraging data science and digital health to accelerate innovation at every step of the R&D process to generate insights that allow us to better understand the diseases we are tackling. For example, data science helps us determine which compounds show the most promise, bring the best molecules into clinical development and design, and execute clinical trials more effectively for exactly the right patients. One major impact of using data science-driven algorithms can be the earlier detection of disease in patients and determination of the most suitable medicines, especially for those with progressive diseases. Today, we have more than 100 data science and digital health projects, powering more than 90% of our development pipeline.
Examples of our progress in data science and digital health in 2021 included:
Generating unprecedented data to address multiple diseases: In January 2021, we became a Founding Industry Member of the Our Future Health consortium, which aims to collect one of the most comprehensive and most diverse datasets ever from 5 million volunteers in the UK. Johnson & Johnson and other pharma peers will be able to analyze this dataset to help fuel the early detection, prevention and treatment of a range of diseases with a higher-than-ever degree of precision.
In another project, progress was made by the UK Biobank, an exome sequencing data science initiative supported by a consortium of government, charity and industry members, including Johnson & Johnson. In 2021, the Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) data for the first 200,000 UK Biobank participants (of a total 500,000) was made available to researchers to enable them to better understand the role of genetics for health outcomes and potentially advance drug discovery and development. The dataset will allow researchers globally to study the 98% of genetic code that is not protein-coded and previously had no known purpose.
- Enhancing clinical trials: Data science is also enhancing the speed, efficiency and inclusiveness of our clinical trials. In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, we were able to gather comprehensive datasets and leverage advanced analytics to understand how COVID-19 was spreading worldwide, where it would likely peak next and where the potential for viral mutations would be highest. These predictions proved remarkably accurate and enabled us to place clinical trial sites in "hot spots" where participants would be more likely to have exposure to COVID-19—meaning we could more quickly determine the efficacy of vaccines. This helped reduce the vaccine development timeline while generating efficacy data across multiple COVID-19 variants of interest. This effort, undertaken with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was recognized with the 2021 Innovative Applications in Analytics Award from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), regarding the creative and unique application of analytical techniques.
- Finding early markers of disease: Speed is critical when it comes to identifying patients and providing the proper treatment, yet for many, rare and difficult-to-detect diseases, diagnosis often comes late—or never at all. For example, for patients with PAH PAH Pulmonary arterial hypertension , the average time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis is two years, causing delay in treatment and a lower average five-year survival rate. Using the results of echocardiograms, we are applying AI, together with external collaborators, to help identify early markers of PAH to help change the lives of those living with the disease.
- Enabling more targeted therapies: The use of data science helps us select the optimum therapy for individual patients. For example, we are using AI to analyze histopathology images from patients with bladder cancer to detect mutations that may make patients more likely to respond to new medicines and facilitate recruitment into clinical trials for potentially lifesaving therapies. We are also leveraging data science to help identify the most appropriate people for our Phase 3 trial for a vaccine to prevent certain E. coli infections, that are becoming increasingly resistant to commonly used antibiotics. We applied machine learning to real-world data (RWD) to better understand the patient population and are using this information to help inform the target profile for participants in our upcoming clinical trial.
- Knowledge sharing within Johnson & Johnson: More than 1,900 Johnson & Johnson colleagues gathered for the third annual 2021 Johnson & Johnson Data Science & Intelligent Automation Showcases. This internal, three-day event highlighted transformational business accomplishments achieved across sectors and functions throughout the year, some of which are captured in this section. More than 300 colleagues globally shared more than 100 posters and 75 topic-based presentations corresponding to five themed tracks: R&D, Supply Chain, Commercial, Corporate Functions and End-to-End Integration. With our senior executives, Johnson & Johnson Data Science Council leaders and external expert speakers, the event demonstrated the wide reach of digital technology and the impact of data science and intelligent automation efforts across our Company.
Our entire leadership is deeply committed to leveraging data science and intelligent automation to change the trajectory of human health. Sharing knowledge and achievements helps us further embed this transformational approach across multiple business functions. We’re already seeing concrete impact across our pipeline, with much more to come.
Innovation in Practice
Notable areas of progress in product innovation across our three business segments in 2021 include:
Our Pharmaceutical R&D organization operates at the intersection of unmet medical need and breakthroughs in science and technology. We work across a wide range of therapeutic areas and biological pathways to deliver profound impact, applying our expertise in small molecules, monoclonal antibodies, cell and gene therapies, RNA RNA Ribonucleic acid therapeutics, and vaccines. Overall, Johnson & Johnson has executed more than 40 acquisitions and licenses and more than 350 strategic partnerships in pursuit of the best science and solutions to healthcare needs.
Our mission is to develop and deliver transformative medicines that positively impact patients worldwide. With a powerful future-facing innovation engine and disciplined R&D strategy, we think equally of science, unmet need and access—because even the best treatments can only help those they can reach.
In 2021, we progressed several pharmaceutical R&D innovations, advancing our aim of providing transformational medicines to patients, including:
New drug approvals:
Cell therapy treatment for patients with multiple myeloma: We received FDA FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for CARVYKTI in early 2022, the first approved cell therapy for Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), for the treatment of adults with relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma,7 offering an innovative immunotherapy with the potential to delay disease progression.
First approved treatment for light chain (AL) amyloidosis: We received FDA approval for a DARZALEX FASPRO8 (daratumumab and hyaluronidase fihj)-based combination regimen for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed AL amyloidosis, the first and only FDA-approved treatment for this rare blood disorder.
Treatment for a rare form of lung cancer: We received FDA accelerated approval9 and conditional EMA EMA European Medicines Agency marketing authorization for RYBREVANT (amivantamab), the first fully human, bispecific antibody approved for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer with a genetic mutation called epidermal growth factor receptor exon 20 insertion.
- First approved treatment in Canada for cardiopulmonary disease: Over the last two decades, our innovation has helped double the median survival time of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)10 a rare, progressive disease. Our latest step in endothelin receptor antagonist treatment for PAH is a fixed-dose combination pill11 that received approval in Canada in 2021. We are working to secure this treatment as an option for patients in other countries to reduce pill burden and improve adherence and outcomes for patients.
- Prevention and treatment of life-threatening blood clots in children: We received FDA approval for two pediatric indications for XARELTO (rivaroxaban) for the treatment of blood clots and reduction in the risk of recurrent blood clots. Clotting is a potentially serious problem in children, affecting approximately 58 per 10,000 of those hospitalized in the U.S., with rates increasing.12
- Expanding research to include more than 20 immune-mediated diseases: We are translating immune insights into transformational treatments for patients across traditional disease area boundaries, broadening our focus from six anatomy-based diseases to more than 20 immune-mediated diseases.13 We are studying a full range of novel oral therapies and industry-first combination therapies that could potentially benefit millions of people who suffer from immune-mediated diseases.
- Investigational therapy for a rare neuroimmune disorder: In 2021, we announced the full results from the Phase 2 Vivacity-MG study of the investigational compound, nipocalimab (M281),14 in generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG)—a rare, chronic, autoimmune neuromuscular disease. Granted Orphan Drug Designation by the FDA for the treatment of gMG, we are also investigating nipocalimab for rare and autoantibody diseases that span both neuroscience and immunological diseases.
Clinical trials and vaccines:
- Investigating the next generation of oral anticoagulants: Janssen and Bristol Myers Squibb, two leaders in thrombosis prevention and treatment, are collaborating to develop and commercialize milvexian, a potentially first-in-class oral factor XIa (FXIa) inhibitor, with the goal of improving upon the benefit/risk profile of existing anticoagulants. The milvexian Phase 2 clinical trial program15 focuses on prevention of blood clots after total knee replacement surgery and secondary stroke prevention.
- Phase 3 trial for extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) vaccine candidate: ExPEC is one of the leading pathogens in the AMR AMR Antimicrobial resistance crisis. We initiated our Phase 3 E.mbrace study to evaluate the efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of a single injection of our investigational vaccine to prevent Invasive ExPEC Disease (IED), such as sepsis, caused by the nine most prevalent serotypes of ExPEC, in adults aged 60 years and older.
- Phase 3 trial for RSV RSV Respiratory syncytial virus vaccine candidate: We initiated a Phase 3 trial to evaluate the efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of Janssen’s investigational adult vaccine against lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV. With no approved vaccine or broadly indicated antiviral available, millions of older adults around the world are at high risk of developing potentially life-threatening illness from RSV.
New research on gut microbiome impacts among diverse people: We entered into a collaboration with Persephone Biosciences, a JLABS @ San Diego and BLUE KNIGHT company, for the colorectal cancer arm of a research study evaluating the gut microbiome's impact on disease among people of diverse racial backgrounds.
Johnson & Johnson MedTech (J&J MedTech) targets some of the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges across surgery, orthopaedics, vision and interventional solutions to improve access and quality of care for millions of individuals.
The pandemic has given us all a deeper appreciation of healthcare as an investment in human possibility rather than a burdensome expense to bear. It has also shown us how digitization in the healthcare industry can power a quantum leap forward in innovations that address unmet needs, elevate the standard of care and save lives.
In 2021, we progressed MedTech innovations, including:
Elevating surgical skills using technology: J&J MedTech uses data science to generate deep insights and enable solutions powered by predictive analytics, machine learning and AI to elevate the skill set of surgeons all over the world. In 2021, we continued to scale our C-SATS platform, a cloud-based, AI-powered ecosystem of knowledge for surgeons that connects the operating room to the cloud where best practices and surgical techniques are gathered and analyzed. The platform represents insights from a network of more than 375 board-certified surgical experts to date and helps improve surgeons’ ongoing learning.
Using digital solutions for enhanced imagery: The Visible Patient Planning Solution is an innovative surgical planning tool that uses patients’ medical imaging to create a roadmap for surgery by generating an interactive 3D model for vital organs. Pre-operative procedure planning with Visible Patient enhances the information available to the surgeon for real-time clinical decision making that can provide a clearer path for surgery. In 2021, we expanded the Visible Patient Planning Solution to more than 11 countries in EMEA EMEA Europe, Middle East and Africa .
Powering insights-driven care across the care continuum: The VELYS Digital Surgery platform provides a suite of tools and technologies to provide greater insights for real-time decision making; greater precision and consistency within the procedure; and an overall more personalized patient care experience before, during and after surgery. In 2021, we introduced the VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution, a first-of-its-kind table-mounted solution, designed to simplify knee replacement surgery intraoperatively. The FDA FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted 510(k) clearance for the VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution, which is designed for use exclusively with our ATTUNE Total Knee System.
Leveraging robotics across surgery areas: J&J MedTech is pioneering a future of advanced robotics across several areas of surgery. For example, our MONARCH robotic bronchoscopy platform is making a meaningful impact on the diagnosis of lung conditions, particularly in patients with small and difficult-to-reach nodules. Following the FDA’s granting of Breakthrough Device Designation for MONARCH-enabled NeuWave microwave ablation technology, we are continuing to develop this platform to help make advanced techniques more accessible for hospitals and extend physician capabilities with the precision of robotics. In 2021 alone, more than 7,000 procedures were performed using the MONARCH platform. More than 14,000 procedures were performed since 2019.16 In General Surgery, we are advancing development of OTTAVA, a robotic-assisted surgery system, which we believe has the potential to provide optimal surgical outcomes.
New possibilities for shoulder surgery: In 2021, we introduced the INHANCE Shoulder System, a first-to-market, fully integrated shoulder arthroplasty system. This is the first shoulder system to offer surgeons the ability to seamlessly transition from stemless to stemmed implants during surgical procedures based on real-time decisions that are informed by bone quality and other findings during the surgical procedure.
Maintaining training and skills: During 2021, in a continuing response to the mobility restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic,
- J&J MedTech maintained efforts to support HCPs HCPs Healthcare professional , including surgeons, with training and learning platforms accessible without travel. Efforts included:
- J&J MedTech Mobile Lab Tours converted buses or trucks used as mobile training labs so HCPs can safely learn about our products and get a deeper understanding of how to use them.
- In partnership with OSSO VR, which has developed VR surgical training modules, J&J MedTech made VR headsets available to surgeons and academic medical centers throughout the world.
- We introduced a program for remote observation in the electrophysiology lab designed to simulate the learning experience of electrophysiologists using a videoconference platform. Web cameras mounted in the electrophysiology lab allow the observers to see all stages of the procedure while mapping images, intracardiac echo and diagnostic recordings are shared on the video screens.
- J&J MedTech partnered with Advances in Surgery and other industry associations to provide more than 1 million HCPs with online courses on COVID-19-related professional education ranging from PPE PPE Personal protective equipment guidelines to ventilation best practices.
U.S. Mobile Lab Tours in 2021
- The MONARCH Mobile Lab traveled to more than 20 U.S. cities educating physicians, surgeons and hospital executives on robotic-assisted bronchoscopy with hands-on experience with MONARCH.
- The VELYS Robotic-Assisted Solution Mobile Experience completed a 21-week mobile lab tour across the U.S., offering hands-on and VR VR Virtual reality -based education to surgeons, operating room team members and hospital administrators.
- The Ethicon Surgical Innovations Lab, a state-of-the-art, fully functional surgical lab on wheels, traveled to hospitals on a six-month, 70-stop tour across the U.S.
- The Digital Technology Experience Spine Mobile Lab visited 16 cities across the U.S. to provide cutting-edge learning on navigational and robotic technologies.
Consumer Health Innovation
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health advances personal health for consumers every day with products that are rooted in science and endorsed by professionals. We combine the power of science with human insights to deliver naturally inspired health and wellness products, high-performance products for healthy skin and everyday products that deliver effective outcomes for healthier consumers at every stage of life.
As the world continues to change, we are evolving our science to unlock innovation. We are leaning into unmet needs and new areas of research to create solutions for every consumer, making an impact on their personal health every day.
Innovations in our Consumer Health products in 2021 include:
- Bandages in more skin tones: BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages launched OURTONE, a collection of BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages, designed to blend with a variety of brown skin tones, for more inclusive wound care that embraces the beauty of diverse skin tones. To develop the OURTONE range, we listened to consumers, partners and employees to deliver wound care solutions that better reflect the communities we serve. For OURTONE packaging development, we worked with company partners, including Hero Collective—a Black-owned agency committed to creative projects that amplify Black and Brown voices.
- More options for acne sufferers: Our new NEUTROGENA Stubborn Blackheads Serum, available to consumers with no need for a prescription, is an acne serum with dermatologist-grade ingredients that visibly clears blackheads while shrinking the appearance of pores, providing visible benefits to those suffering from acne, including improvement in texture, blotchiness and post-acne marks. The serum, made with a unique blend of scientifically proven acids, is strong enough to be effective for mild to moderate acne sufferers and gentle enough for daily use.
- A stronger option for cold + flu relief: TYLENOL launched two extra-strength formulas for day and night treatment to provide relief from painful cold and flu symptoms, including congestion, cough, headache and fever. Both products are the strongest TYLENOL formulas available without a prescription, allowing for expanded access to pain relief for adults and children aged 12 and older experiencing multisymptom colds.
Innovation Through Collaboration
Across all our business segments, we advance product innovation, leveraging our extensive expertise, experience and resources as well as multiple external collaborations and partnerships across the world. Through our global innovation network, we connect life science and health technology innovators with the breadth and depth of offerings that are unique to Johnson & Johnson.
Working side by side with innovators throughout their journey, we offer a robust exchange of ideas and resources to help cultivate and shape their innovations and support their success. From identifying and facilitating potential collaborations to offering incubation and investment in promising healthcare solutions, we are committed to helping entrepreneurs who share our bold purpose to improve people's lives around the world.
By connecting the best science, technology and entrepreneurs to our resources, tools and expertise, we aim to generate transformational healthcare solutions that address the toughest healthcare challenges and improve the lives of patients and consumers around the world.
Examples of how we invested, partnered, collaborated and shared resources across our global innovation network in 2021 include:
Investing in promising therapies and companies: Through JJDC JJDC Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JJDC, Inc. , our corporate venture fund, we make strategic equity investments in life sciences innovations. For example, in 2021, DePuy Synthes acquired OrthoSpin Ltd. OrthoSpin has developed a disruptive technology for treating orthopaedic external fixation patients, integrating software that automates the process to enhance the patient experience and potentially reduce the risk of negative clinical outcomes.
JLABS global network of health sciences incubators: JLABS JLABS Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JLABS sites across the globe help life sciences startups take their breakthrough ideas from concept to commercialization. Since the founding of JLABS in 2012 and through the end of 2021, more than 790 JLABS companies—45 now publicly traded and 37 acquired—have raised nearly $60 billion in financing and strategic relationships. More than 220 companies have formed at least one deal, collaboration or partnership with Johnson & Johnson. With diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at the core of our JLABS mission and culture, the JLABS current portfolio includes 32% female-led and 30% minority-led companies.17
Crowdsourcing to drive innovation: Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s QuickFire Challenges are crowdsourcing competitions committed to identifying and cultivating potential health solutions from innovators whose work aims to change the trajectory of healthcare. In 2021, 16 new QuickFire Challenges were launched and six Challenges from 2020 were completed. Of the innovative solutions recognized in 2021, 14 aimed to solve unmet medical need for populations that have been historically marginalized, and of those awarded funding, 39% were women-led teams, and 24% were teams led by people of color. As part of these QuickFire Challenges, we also launched two first-ever innovation challenges that could benefit the military community, recognizing that many post-active-duty veterans disproportionately face health issues compared to other Americans.
Creating flexible collaborations, deals and investments: Through our Innovation Centers located in life science hot spots around the world, we collaborate and partner with external innovators at the early stages of development—including startups, academics, entrepreneurs and biotech leaders. Since 2013, Johnson & Johnson Innovation has identified, shaped or facilitated more than 1,000 collaborations, including the following recent examples:
- An agreement between Janssen R&D and the National Cancer Center Japan to profile miRNA biomarkers and understand their role in early stage lung cancer and tumor formation. Through the collaboration, the groups will be able to assess results from an East-Asian cohort, which offers the opportunity to bridge the data between Western and East Asian populations, accelerating identification of robust biomarkers and facilitating discovery of new treatment targets.
- Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ acquisition of Anakuria Therapeutics, a company focused on mTORC1 inhibitors, provides Janssen Pharmaceuticals with a potential first-in-class opportunity to explore solutions for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, a commonly inherited disorder that causes the kidneys to enlarge and lose function over time.
- A collaboration between Janssen Oncology and Mersana Therapeutics to enable the development of up to three novel antibody-drug conjugates targeting cancers in areas of high unmet medical need.
- An agreement between Janssen Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology company Cidara Therapeutics, one of the JLABS alumni companies, to develop and commercialize drug-Fc conjugates for the prevention of seasonal and pandemic influenza. This collaboration could transform the standard of care for patients facing serious viral infections.
- An innovation developed with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health and CellScope to launch SMARTCHECK from Children’s TYLENOL, a digital ear scope that attaches to a smartphone to enable sharing of recordings of a child’s eardrum to help provide a remote diagnosis, including a potential ear infection. In 2019, Johnson & Johnson Innovation acquired the rights to the CellScope smartphone otoscope technology and worked with Consumer Health to bring this innovation to parents and families.