Saudi Arabia Inks Deals with Johnson & Johnson to Bolster Health Sector

Published December 17th, 2020 - 09:30 GMT
Saudi Arabia Inks Deals with Johnson & Johnson to Bolster Health Sector
Under the new MoU, Janssen, one of the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson and KAUST will explore collaborations to tackle dengue fever, a mosquito-borne virus and one of the many neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). (Shutterstock)

Johnson & Johnson has announced that its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies has signed two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with distinguished partners in Saudi Arabia as part of the company’s commitment to advancing global health.

The two MoUs cover different scopes of activities and are designed to address current health needs, advance science and research, and bring innovative treatments and solutions to patients.

Speaking on the partnerships, Vishnu Kalra, Managing Director for Janssen GCC, said: “In more than four decades as strategic partners, Johnson & Johnson and Saudi Arabia have pursued new and innovative approaches to unmet health challenges. Today’s agreements take us one step closer to putting dengue fever behind us and will help step up local manufacturing capabilities through greater knowledge and technology transfer.”

Under the new MoU, Janssen, one of the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), a graduate research university devoted to finding solutions to some of the world´s most pressing scientific and technological challenges, will explore collaborations to tackle dengue fever, a mosquito-borne virus and one of the many neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Collaborative efforts may include studying dengue epidemiology, creating outbreak simulation plans using artificial intelligence and data visualization, and supporting the study and analysis of potential therapeutic compounds for dengue.

Though dengue fever infects as many as 400 million people each year, there are currently no therapeutics available and only one licensed vaccine. The disease represents a significant and growing public health issue in Saudi Arabia, where it is endemic year-round and peaks during the rainy season. Infections are poised to increase due to the millions of visitors received in one of the country´s dengue epicenters each year.

Under the MoU with SaudiVax, Janssen will help to establish local manufacturing for leading biological drugs to treat immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. Biological therapies have brought new hope to patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, autoimmune diseases, arthritis and psoriasis, but they are manufactured in a long and complex process that is unique to each biologic treatment. This collaboration brings Janssen’s know-how and high technical and quality standards together with local capabilities of SaudiVax in order to accelerate local biologics manufacturing. SaudiVax is a regional manufacturer and supplier of vaccines and biopharmaceuticals. 


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