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News - Biotech agreement opens way for new auto-immune disease therapies

15th June 2016

A new personalised treatment for the debilitating arthritic condition ankylosing spondylitis and other auto-immune diseases will be developed through a research collaboration led by QUT’s Professor of Genomics, Matt Brown under an agreement between Janssen Biotech Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and QUT.

The announcement was made at a ceremony marking the official opening of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @ QUT in the presence of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.  It was the first agreement facilitated by the new Partnering Office at QUT’s Kelvin Grove campus.

“Ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and psoriasis all share in common some major genetic risk factors,” Professor Brown said. 

“The collaboration with Janssen Biotech will enable development of new therapies for these conditions, rapidly accelerating our research taking genetic findings back into the clinic leading to better health for our patients.”

“The agreement with QUT is part of Johnson & Johnson Innovations' strong commitment to collaborating in cutting edge early-stage innovation wherever it happens and to pursuing new treatment options for people in need in the areas of consumer health, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals, including difficult-to-treat autoimmune diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis,” said Kathy Connell, Director of New Ventures Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), for Johnson & Johnson Innovation, which is affiliated with Janssen ANZ (Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd).

“This first agreement made through our newly launched Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @ QUT represents the importance of collaboration across academia, industry, and government to further build the Queensland life sciences ecosystem and improve access to medical innovation in this important region – and beyond,” she added.

Professor Brown, from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and based at Brisbane’s Translational Research Institute, is an internationally renowned genetics researcher who has led global efforts to identify genes causing the common form of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis.

His research has identified key genetic pathways involved in the diseases ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and psoriasis that affect three per cent of the world population, opening pathways to new treatments.

“As a clinician who works in research, my dream has always been to develop new and better treatments for patients with the conditions I manage and research,” Professor Brown said. 

“This partnership with Janssen will greatly increase our chances of successfully taking our genetics research findings back into the clinic, leading to better health for our patients.”

Media contact: QUT Niki Widdowson 07 3138 2999 or Rose Trapnell 07 3138 2361 or 0407 585 901


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