>UOW and Johnson & Johnson Research Pty Ltd enter significant Research Agreement to investigate new natural products Jul 12, 2005

A significant new Agreement the University of Wollongong has entered with Johnson & Johnson Research Pty Limited (JJR) to investigate new natural product chemistries was marked with the opening today of a pharmaceutical research laboratory.

Under the Agreement, the University has appointed innovative chemists to the project under the direction of Professor Stephen Pyne of UOW's Department of Chemistry. JJR also assisted with the construction of the new laboratory on the UOW campus.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerard Sutton welcomed the attending guests to the lab opening and said that the agreement was a significant event in the life of UOW.

"The University has had links with JJR for 15 years and we are now taking our partnership to a new level," he said. "This lab will have an impact on the pharmaceutical industry both in Australia and worldwide."

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Margaret Sheil said these laboratories and the new venture were a significant enhancement of the University's previous work with Johnson & Johnson Research.

“They demonstrate the confidence they have in our ability to deliver commercial potential from discovery research in the area of plant natural product chemistries,” she said.

It has been estimated that up to half of currently approved pharmaceuticals are natural products or compounds related to them. In areas such as cancer and infectious disease, up to 80% drugs in current use are of natural product origin. The world of natural product chemistry continues to be a rich source of leads, and is being rediscovered as a source of next-generation pharmaceuticals.

The Managing Director of JJR, Dr Susan Pond, said: “We are excited by this new initiative which provides an excellent example of industry and academia working together in Australia towards productive outcomes for human healthcare worldwide.”

“The association between the University of Wollongong and Johnson & Johnson Research is focussed on bringing forward new chemistries for pharmaceutical testing and development,” Dr Pond said. "This lab has been a long time in the making and we can now create chemistry in new spaces, yielding diversity and promise for the pharmaceutical industry"

Lab Director, Professor Stephen Pyne, said that the lab would maintain strong links with JJR in Europe and the United States and also thanked JJR for their funding of four PhD scholarships at UOW.

"This will be a true international collaboration," he said."I anticipate this will be a very strong science project where significant breakthroughs will be made in new drug discovery."

[Johnson & Johnson Research Pty Limited (JJR), located in Sydney, is part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. Innovation in drug discovery and development, as well as advancements in biotechnology, make the company a significant contributor of new products for the treatment of human diseases and thus, the enhancement of health. Johnson & Johnson is the world's most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care products, and is a leading provider of related services for the consumer, pharmaceutical, medical devices and diagnostics markets. Johnson & Johnson employs approximately 110,000 people globally. The unique decentralised structure of Johnson & Johnson means that the organisation is a family of 200 operating companies, with more than $US4.68 billion invested in research and development and is a R&D global partner of choice.]