Expanding Innovation in Asia Pacific: Q&A with Dong Wu, Head of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Asia Pacific Innovation Center

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Formerly the VP of R&D for Johnson & Johnson’s consumer health business, Dong Wu became the head of the newly opened Johnson & Johnson Innovation Asia Pacific Innovation Center (APIC) in Shanghai in 2014. Leveraging his extensive background in consumer health and the broader resources of Johnson & Johnson across pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumer healthcare, his goal is to identify and enable game-changing innovation where it happens across the region.

We asked him three questions about the long-term goals of the Asia Pacific Innovation Center, what he sees as the main opportunities for Johnson & Johnson Innovation in Asia Pacific, and how the Center aims to accelerate early-stage innovation for the world’s most pressing diseases by collaborating with entrepreneurs and scientists.

1. The Asia Pacific Innovation Center has been around for only a few years. What are your long-term goals for the Center?

The Asia Pacific Innovation Center builds on Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s ambition to inspire, empower and enable innovation. Our long-term goal is to continue playing a key role in sourcing early-stage science in the region for the development of new medicines, medical devices, and consumer products. APIC has team members across the region working extensively on landscaping the scientific areas and connecting with the right external stakeholders to identify strong localized opportunities in each location.

Our aim with APIC is to find game-changing healthcare solutions from developing innovation hotspots in the region. In the past three years, Asia Pacific has become a home for thriving life science communities, through which we have identified and built collaborations with regional academic centers, entrepreneurs and emerging companies. Over the next five years, we will continue to look for new and different ways to spur external innovation.

2. What do you see as being the greatest opportunities for Johnson & Johnson Innovation in Asia Pacific?

Johnson & Johnson Innovation is interested in building relationships with local entrepreneurs, academics and biotech researchers who are developing early-stage innovations, and there is a lot of great innovation happening in the region.

We’re looking to partner with top innovators, and our unique open innovation model allows us to work side-by-side with these innovators throughout their journey, providing a robust exchange of ideas and resources to accelerate their success in creating solutions for today’s most pressing healthcare needs, and we’re really excited to have taken a major step in this direction.

At Johnson & Johnson Innovation, we have spent the past five years building out infrastructures and fostering relationships to nurture innovation ecosystems across major hotspots around the world. On top of our global business unit strategic areas, APIC is gearing up for significant regional challenges involving ageing populations, unprecedented urbanization, a growing middle class and surges in chronic diseases.


3. How does Johnson & Johnson Innovation collaborate with entrepreneurs and what does it mean to launch Asia proper’s first ever QuickFire Challenge in Singapore?

We are fortunate to be partnering with ETPL and Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) to launch the Singapore QuickFire Challenge – Metabolic Disease Innovation. This Challenge aims to identify and support entrepreneur, academic, and biotech researchers with innovative ideas for tackling metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, diseases that affect the lives of the millions of people in Asia Pacific and around the world.

The launch of the JLABS QuickFire Challenges demonstrates Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s commitment to work in partnership with local parties to take on these diseases. Having successfully carried out seven JLABS QuickFire Challenges in numerous countries, it is truly exciting to launch the first Asia-proper QuickFire Challenge in Singapore, further reinforcing our commitment to strengthen the Singaporean entrepreneurial ecosystem with the goal to address the region’s pressing healthcare needs.

This competition will award the person or team that submits the best solutions for diabetes and other metabolic diseases in the areas of therapeutics, health technologies, consumer healthcare and/or medical devices.  We welcome proposal submissions until May 17, 2017 so visit the website here to learn more.

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