NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Dec. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Building on its 25-year legacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) today announced four new public-private partnerships through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies to significantly reduce the burden of HIV incidence, especially among adolescent girls, who make up 74 percent of new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa1. Announced on World AIDS Day, these new initiatives include collaborations with the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), all focused on efforts to stem the tide of HIV infection and empower women and girls in HIV prevention.
"Our goal is to make HIV history," said Alex Gorsky, Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson. "Today we join the global community in honoring those who have made a significant difference in fighting HIV/AIDS, and at the same time we're also reminded that much more remains to be done in this fight. That's especially important in the world's most vulnerable communities, and the programs we're partnering with have the resources to offer the direct assistance so needed to help improve people's lives."
The initiatives include: becoming a major partner supporting PEPFAR's DREAMS initiative, a collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect and others, to dramatically reduce HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries; CHAI and IPM, which focus on increasing access to simplified HIV treatments and advancing innovative tools to help prevent sexual transmission of HIV in women and girls. A fourth initiative, Connect for Life™, is a new program that is designed to enable local health professionals in resource-limited settings to improve diagnosis and treatment of those living with HIV and tuberculosis.
Johnson & Johnson aims to reach people over the whole continuum of care, from prevention to cure. "As a physician and scientist who trained in Africa during the beginning of the HIV crisis, I am proud of the progress the scientific, global, and patient communities have made to turn HIV/AIDS into a disease that can be adequately managed, enabling people with HIV to live productive lives," said Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson and Worldwide Chairman, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, who is responsible for leading the company's HIV initiatives. "We must now address the most critical disparities in prevention and global access to treatment, especially in resource-limited settings around the world."
The new partnerships build on Johnson & Johnson's long-standing commitment to battle HIV through a broad portfolio of transformational medicines and combination therapies; history of novel programs and partnerships to increase access to HIV medicines and care; collaborative research on innovative tools and treatments; strategic philanthropy partnerships that have resulted in significant gains in the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and, issue advocacy at high-level forums and with leading stakeholders in the fight against HIV. Recent studies of novel therapies researched and developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, showed that long-acting, injectable formulations for HIV are keeping the virus under control, and promise for a new prime-boost vaccine program currently in clinical trials.
Globally, 15 percent of women living with HIV/AIDS are aged 15-24, with 80 percent living in sub-Saharan Africa2. Every year, 380,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV3, signaling an urgent need for a shift in programming. Through these initiatives, and as part of its overall global health strategy, Johnson & Johnson is working with partners to develop integrated, multi-sector solutions that meet complex needs and create an evidence base of measurable health outcomes to help direct future investments.
"The future of these fragile communities depends on the health and well-being of young women and their babies. We're aiming to stop the cycle of HIV transmission by working to ensure that every baby is born HIV-free, adolescents have the tools to stay HIV-free and manage their status, and that those living with HIV have access to simplified treatment and care," said Jaak Peeters, head of Global Public Health, Johnson & Johnson. "We hope this integrated, outcomes-based approach to tackling critical global health challenges at every stage of life will have long-term impact for whole communities, not just individuals, in the world's most vulnerable populations."
As part of Johnson & Johnson's overall commitment to HIV, the four initiatives, representing a multi-pronged approach, include:
Stemming the tide of HIV in adolescent girls
- Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, will support PEPFAR's DREAMS initiative by committing up to $15 million over two years in combined funding and in-kind contributions. This will provide in-country consumer insights, expertise and financial resources in 10 sub-Saharan countries to support a suite of programs focused on empowering adolescent girls, ensuring improved access to treatment and prevention options, and creating supporting communities. Janssen joins other major partners, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Girl Effect, in its support.
Increasing access to innovative fixed-dose 2nd-line therapy for the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS
- Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, is collaborating with CHAI to facilitate the development and delivery of a fixed-dose combination of darunavir and ritonavir (DRV/rt) for the treatment of HIV in resource-limited settings. This collaboration represents our shared commitment to improving access to important medical solutions, and will help support generic manufacturers' efforts to broaden access to these formulations. The collaboration supports the inclusion of DRV/rt as an element of second-line treatment in the World Health Organization's recent update to its global HIV/AIDS treatment guidelines. The inclusion of DRV/rt in the guidelines will allow for enhanced access to the treatment for more of the patients, families and communities in need.
Empowering women and girls in HIV prevention
- Building on a decade-long partnership, Janssen Sciences Ireland UC granted IPM an exclusive, royalty-free license to develop its HIV medicine and commercialize in a number of developing countries its HIV medicine darunavir as a potential vaginal and rectal microbicide for HIV prevention in women. This collaboration supports the development and delivery of innovative tools that aim to equip women and girls in developing countries with the tools to protect themselves against sexual transmission of HIV. The license represents the first time a pharmaceutical company has licensed a protease inhibitor to be developed as a microbicide.
Enhancing detection, treatment and prevention of HIV and TB for patients
- In collaboration with the Infectious Diseases Institute, the Ugandan Ministry of Health, and Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust, Janssen has launched the Ugandan Academy for Health Innovation and Impact as a flagship of Connect for Life™, a new program that deploys mobile and digital technologies, demonstration projects, and Academies of independent local experts to help patients manage their diseases, while also building capacity in local healthcare professionals to enhance detection, treatment and prevention of HIV and TB, and improve maternal and child health.
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