Sneak Preview! Collaboration Innovation - J&J’s bold new approach to biotech partnerships

For the upcoming August issue of our Drugs&Dealers Magazine, Biotech and Money interviewed Patrick Verheyen, Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centre London.

Patrick is on a mission to forge collaborations that will lead to the translation of great science. Focussing on science led fundamental improvements, the global innovation centres have already completed over 60 deals, despite only being in existence for little over a year.



Patrick talks to us about the key success factors necessary to translate science and deliver on J&J Innovation’s objectives, the scale of the challenges and opportunities he faces, what he feels are the ingredients to successful collaborations and what he sees is the future of pharma in early stage science.

The full interview will be exclusively released in the magazine on the 22nd August. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of some of the Q&A to whet your appetite.

B&M: What do you think are the key success factors that are necessary to achieve your core objectives?

PV: One KSF is surely about having the deep expertise needed to identify the opportunities. Experts are those people who have a very deep understanding of the basic biology, the fundamental problem of the disease, and connect that with the patient needs.  If you have those people close, so that they can interact with academia, clinical centres, through the VC’s, I think that’s step number 1.

A second KSF are networks. Networks are extremely important. It is by working with other people in the industry, and outside the industry that you really refine your thinking and you get to a better result. If you can couple deep expertise over a really vast network I think we can make better decisions, be more efficient with capital and invest our capital on those ideas and concepts that will lead to the most transformative products, not just 3 years from now but in 10-15 years from now.

The third KSF I would say is about people. It’s about conviction and the passion people have to really be successful in this space.  I think that’s critical.  You need to have expertise.  You need to have good networks.  But you also need to have people with passion. You need to have people who have a long term vision and remain focussed on the science and remain focussed on the patient and can deliver.

B&M: And what do you feel is the biggest obstacle to your success? What is your biggest challenge?

PV: For me it’s about how do you spot ideas, products, and get conviction around those that will be transformative, or could be transformative, 10-15 years from now? How do we know this pathway is going to be a valid pathway, this type of antibody, this type of molecule or this type of small vaccine is going to be the best way to tackle this fundamental product rather than another one?  That takes expertise.  That takes being connected with the best in the world.  And it takes the right expertise coupled with conviction.
B&M: Aside from the expertise, the networks, and the necessary conviction, are there any other factors that can help address the challenge of finding and commercialising truly transformative products?

PV: There are factors that can complement them. Ensuring proximity of stakeholders is important. I also think deal structure is very important, in other words how you collaborate. It’s about ensuring you set up collaborations where the expertise is there, the network is there, and the people remain incentivised.

The full 4 page interview article will be featured in the August edition of Drugs&Dealers Magazine, released on 22nd. To access this and interviews from The Crick InstituteBBSRCIsis Innovation, Imperial Innovations, Edinburgh BioQuarterUCL BusinessCancer Research TechnologyGSKApposite CapitalSilicon Valley Bank and Marks & Clerk LLP subscribe for free below and we’ll send you your very own copy.

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If you’re interested in early stage collaboration, partnership or funding opportunities I’d encourage you to register for our upcoming ‘Biotechs and the City: Tech Transfer, Translational Funding and Start-Up Capital’ Evening Reception on the 4th Sept. Registration is now open.

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