Johnson & Johnson Innovation: Jeffrey Nye. A golden time in neuroscience.

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Video title: Johnson & Johnson Innovation: Jeffrey Nye. A golden time in neuroscience.
Released on: June 07, 2013. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, filmed at Bio Conference 2013, in Chicago, USA, Fintan Walton talks to Jeffrey Nye of Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Janssen Pharmaceuticals 's focus on Neuroscience
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at the BIO Convention, in Chicago, in 2013. On this show I have Jeff Nye, who is Vice President of Neuroscience Innovation & Partnership Strategy at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, welcome.
Jeffrey Nye:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Jeff Nye, you've had a long focus in the area of neuroscience and of course Janssen has undergone changes in the way it focuses on neuroscience, you yourself have moved into this position that I've just described which is neuroscience innovation, but you've also embedded yourself within the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centers that have been set up around the world, there are four, you are going to be based in Boston, so maybe we would just start first of all Jeff with what is the focus that Janssen has in neuroscience, what are the, where are the hard areas that you are active in and what are you looking to bring in into Janssen Pharmaceuticals?
Jeffrey Nye:
Absolutely, well we are very excited about the biggest unmet medical needs in neuroscience and trying to solve some of those very difficult problems like Alzheimer's disease and mood disorders are the primary areas that we are investing in at the earliest stage, the discovery stage and we are continuing our legacy of schizophrenia research as well as pain with marketed products and other innovation at the later stage, but the earliest investments and the things that we are seeking partnerships at the early stage are Alzheimer's and mood disorders.
Strategy of innovation centers
Fintan Walton:
Right, and I suppose what, the challenge for that, for those disease areas is really understanding the underlying causes of disease which we are getting better to understand we don't fully completely understand, so from a strategy point of view, from Janssen's strategy point of view how do you make sure that you can truly access the basic understanding of the disease and at the same time identify those important innovations that would bring us the drugs that are important for the diseases?
Jeffrey Nye:
I think it's a golden time in neuroscience right now because of the new technologies that are emerging practically every week the announcements that you are hearing about the brain consortium announced by the US Government recently to map the entire human brain, and we are hoping to be very actively engaged in neuroscience, at a time when other pharma companies are actually moving out or have reduced their investment we are staying firm and committed to neuroscience, because we think that it's a great time to get engaged with the science and this is how these innovation centers really fit in perfectly, because we've planted ourselves locally with scientists who know the field and a really capable partnership team and incubators so that we can access the new science that's really changing the field and we can get involved at the earliest of stage with a variety of types of partnerships.
Fintan Walton:
Okay so the target then or the targets are then academic groups, early stage biotechnology companies and I suppose importantly is also aligning yourselves with those venture capital groups that are actually investing in these areas as well, so describe to me how, how that strategy actually works, how can these innovations centers truly give you access to the best science?
Jeffrey Nye:
Well being located right in the region where the some of the top of scientists are located, the venture investment communities are so active and there is entrepreneurial start-up companies really gives us a true advantage and bringing our resources so we are putting in these innovation centers business development transactional people as well as our investor arm, the Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation is now co-located in the innovation centers. So we have a variety of types of partnership that we could contemplate, academic partnerships where we get our discovery folks involved, our biomarker folks through to option deals, venture investments, we can put small companies, new companies in an incubator that we are starting, we've been very successful with the Janssen incubator in San Diego and hope to reproduce that success in other sites, as well as more traditional early stage licensing deals. The innovation centers are responsible up to clinical proof-of-concept and our traditional business development team is still active and involved in all of the post proof-of-concept partnerships that they've been doing so successfully for years.
Significance of BIO convention
Fintan Walton:
Jeff, you know clearly we are here at the BIO Convention as they said you can hear the music in the background, how important is the BIO Convention for yourselves, obviously you are located in these four locations but you are still coming to BIO, so what works at BIO?
Jeffrey Nye:
BIO is still a centerpiece of the partnering set of meetings and we are very excited to be here and we are proud to be sponsors and to be involved in the some of the exciting forums like the BIO Genius Awards, and we each have, there is about 20 of us, we each have about 20 meetings each with a variety of partners some that we've just met, some we've been talking to regionally, so it's a really important opportunity and wonderful that we are all brought together.
Future plans in Neuroscience area
Fintan Walton:
Right, so I suppose one of the key things about coming to BIO is that you get this sort of collective voice of all these, of all the science that's going on in neuroscience, so it comes back to you really and with your own background in neuroscience, where neuroscience has got to so far and where do we go into the future, so for somebody who has practiced in the area and helped to bring products to the market for Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals where do you see neuroscience going? What are the key breakthroughs that we'll see over the next few years at these, what would you like to hope we can achieve over the next few years?
Jeffrey Nye:
Well we are very excited in the new technology that has emerged in reprogrammed neurons of the brain allowing us to use essentially skin cells to generate patients neurons, I would like to make the analogy that in the field of cancer we've had tissue biopsies and cells growing in culture for 50 or 60-years, but in neuroscience it's really new, only in the last couple of years have we actually had brain cells from patients without having to have a brain biopsy which is only very rarely done, that allows us to make advances in developing cellular models, the literature is filled with exciting new results in the last couple of years where they've essentially reproduced the findings from patients cells that they've developed in culture using reprogramming technology, that's a very important innovation for us to improve our animal models and to really understand the pathophysiology of the disorders. We are also here to look at technologies that we haven't had a chance to see, small companies, entrepreneurs, academic folks who all come here and it's a wonderful opportunity to meet with all of them and they show us the technology, sometimes we are interested in a partnerships, sometimes we just want to make contact, keep in touch, give them a few of our ideas that might be helpful come back to us when you show this or that and then we will talk to them later about one of these types of mechanisms I was mentioning where we could possibly engage, once again we are really open for business with different kinds of models, we are not really just looking for a licensing deal at Phase II when we take the compounds in, we are really looking to engage and participate in the science in an external way sometimes will be virtual partners, sometimes will be deeply engaged.
Fintan Walton:
Jeff Nye, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Jeffrey Nye:
My pleasure, thank you very much.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Jeffrey S Nye
Vice President & Global Head
At the time of recording this PTV interview Jeffrey S. Nye serves as Vice President & Global Head Neuroscience External Innovation & Partnership Strategy at Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Nye is responsible for external R&D in neuroscience, focusing on novel business relationships, venture, academic, public-private partnerships and risk-shared outsourcing. Previously, Jeff was Chief Medical Officer of the East Coast Research and Early Development unit and was responsible for early programs across all therapeutic areas. Prior roles include VP of Experimental Medicine, and leader of programs for Galantamine for Alzheimer's disease, and Topamax for epilepsy and migraine. He previously served as a Director of CNS Discovery Genomics and Biotechnology at Pharmacia. Prior to pharma, Jeff was a tenured associate professor of Molecular Pharmacology, Biological Chemistry and Pediatrics (Neurology) at Northwestern University. He has a BA and MA from Harvard, and a MD and PhD (with Solomon Snyder) from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He served as resident, postdoctoral fellow (with Richard Axel) and assistant professor of Pediatrics in Neurology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. Jeff has published over 60 papers on basic and clinical research, and has led pharma programs in discovery through clinical development. He has served on study sections and advisory panels, and currently serves as a Councilor of the British Association of Psychopharmacology, Advisory panel for the Allen Institute, and the co-chair of the New York Academy Alzheimer's Leadership council.
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Janssen Pharmaceuticals a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, provides medicines for an array of health concerns in several therapeutic areas, including: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), general medicine (acid reflux disease, infectious diseases), mental health (bipolar I disorder, schizophrenia), neurologics (Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, migraine prevention and treatment), pain management, and women's health. Headquartered in Titusville, New Jersey, Janssen is named after Dr. Paul Janssen, a leading Belgian researcher, pharmacologist, and general practitioner. Dr. Janssen led a group of researchers to discover a medicine that helped change the way mental health patients were treated. His company, Janssen Pharmaceutica, joined the Johnson & Johnson family of companies in 1961. Our company remains guided by Dr. Janssen's values of excellence and innovation.