Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) spent a lot of time talking partnerships at the 2012 TEDMED conference. And a company executive said that if there’s one approach the company would look to duplicate in the future, it would be its approach to AIDS.
“In terms of how we look at our business today and the investments we make, it’s not just the one-off but making sure there are linkages to the (bigger picture),” said Michael Sneed, J&J’s vice president for global corporate affairs. “That’s the approach taken to HIV/AIDS. I think we will be doing that again.”
Some may be surprised by the AIDS comparison. Last year, J&J took a tremendous amount of heat for its decision to keep certain medicines out of the Medicines Patent Pool, which is designed to make HIV medications cheaper for the developing world.
Sneed, though, considers the overall strategy a strength of the company, which pushed efforts that included preventing mother-to-child transmission and preventing infections in women and youth. He wouldn’t say what the next clinical area would be the focus of J&J’s philanthropy and partnership philosophy, though he said it could be a big-bucket challenge the scope of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sneed – and others at both Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Global Services – spoke regularly at TEDMED about a broader effort around partnerships. These partnerships wouldn’t be product driven, such as equity investments or research-and-development pacts, but efforts that would streamline healthcare delivery. This initiative was evident at TEDMED thanks to the open-air nature of of the event. Dr. Diego Miralles, who leads Janssen Healthcare Innovation, was sitting the middle of the J&J booth having an animated discussion with Cleveland Clinic’s CEO, Dr. Toby Cosgrove.
“We recognize the the power of partnerships,” Sneed said. “We can meet people here and know how to connect them with J&J.
“We’re here to talk about ideas.”
[Photo from Housingworks.org]