Public Release:  Janssen, J&J Innovation, VIB, KU Leuven and UZ Leuven join forces to combat neurological diseases

An extra 5 million€ for neurological research

VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)

Stellar, the collaboration between Janssen, J&J Innovation, VIB, KU Leuven and UZ Leuven, is launched to overcome the inefficiencies in translating basic molecular insights to diagnostics and therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases. Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Innovation are committing up to 5 million Euros for this project over a five-year period. They will sponsor academic research projects from VIB, KU Leuven and UZ Leuven.

"Developing a new drug takes lots of time, especially for complex diseases such as Alzheimer's. We are convinced that we can increase the chance of success if we, as a research institute, join forces with a pharmaceutical company like Janssen," Johan Cardoen (Managing Director VIB).

"At Janssen Research & Development, we are deeply committed to patients with neurodegenerative diseases and to the health care professionals who care for them," said Husseini Manji, MD, Global Head, Neuroscience. "We believe that collaboration with external innovators is essential to drive the types of discoveries that will bring forth the treatments of tomorrow for neurodegenerative diseases."

"At Johnson & Johnson Innovation, accelerating the most promising early-stage science in collaboration with leading academic centres around the world is how we will continue to make improvements in the health and happiness of people worldwide," commented Patrick Verheyen, head of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation centre in London.

Stellar: joining forces to combat neurological diseases

This innovative collaboration will address the funding gap in Flanders for translational projects and will result in relevant neuroprotective therapeutic strategies by enabling multidisciplinary research projects between basic molecular neuroscientists, experts in cognitive animal model testing, clinical neurologists, human imaging specialists and Janssen R&D scientists.

Stellar seeks to attract top researchers in the BeNeLux scientific community to submit proposals for cutting-edge research in neurodegenerative disorders. The Johnson & Johnson companies will collaborate initially with VIB, KU Leuven and The University Hospital Leuven to create opportunities for collaborative research. Other academic institutions are encouraged to join the project as its next phase begins later this year.

For more information about the initiative and the submission process, please visit http://www.stellar-project.be (available on June 17, 2013).

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