Johnson & Johnson Taps London For Innovation Hub

London chosen as one of four global sites for Johnson & Johnson "innovation centers" to develop technologies to fight disease.

Gary Flood, Contributor

March 13, 2013

3 Min Read
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London has joined a global network of research centers run by the world's largest healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson, according to the Department of Health (DH).

A 20-employee "innovation center" opened Monday in central London, joining facilities in Boston, Shanghai and San Francisco as part of the $67 billion corporation's aim to promote cutting-edge health research. The London operation, along with the others, will be tasked to "scout, develop and promote new technologies so that the latest cutting-edge inventions and techniques can be used in the NHS and beyond," said the DH.

The center will focus on developing technologies to address a wide range of conditions including dementia, cancer and infectious diseases. It also will study immunology and biomarkers for disease and design devices to make surgery faster and safer.

London was chosen due to its proximity to universities, research councils and charities; the high concentration of biotech companies; the venture capital community; and good infrastructure links, according to a DH statement.The news comes off the back of a National Health Service-organized London conference,">Innovation Expo, which started Wednesday and is being offered as a way for the healthcare and IT industries to become more familiar with major structural changes in the NHS due to take effect in April. The two-day conference is expected to draw up to 10,000 attendees.

[ The U.K.'s National Health Service plans to go paperless. ]

The London center will provide new jobs and business for British universities, research, charities, which will be tapped to deliver on the center's science projects. The center is "further evidence of the Coalition Government's determination to put the U.K. at the forefront of the global race for new business and hi-tech industry," said the DH.

"I am determined to cement and accelerate our position as the number-one place for health and pharmaceutical companies to invest and grow and hopefully develop the next generation of medical breakthroughs," said Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a statement.

Hunt and his team hopes British technology will be able to contribute not only to the Johnson & Johnson goals but to making the "new NHS" work. The Innovation Expo is showcasing tech-based examples of "fresh thinking and creative solutions to prevent ill health and improve care," including a new health apps library, which will offer the British public "safe and trusted apps to help manage their health."

The library launches this week with an initial complement of 70 apps said to provide advice and support for a range of conditions, access to online services, and general health and fitness information. Examples include a free system called Patient Access Mobile which lets patients set up appointments and refill prescriptions online instead of booking by phone. Another app, PatientsKnowBest, lets users get their laboratory results online and send secure messages to their doctors and nurses.

Hunt also is expected to detail plans for tailored online psychological support for people with skin conditions, and online mental health services for children and teens.

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