Johnson & JohnsonEnlight Biosciences LLC, a Boston-based company conceived in partnership with major pharmaceutical companies and academic luminaries, announced that Johnson & Johnson has joined the initiative. As a partner, Johnson & Johnson will have the opportunity to invest in the development of strategic technologies that have the potential to fundamentally transform drug discovery and development and to apply these pre-competitive technologies to its therapeutic programmes. With the participation of Johnson & Johnson, Enlight and its partners are now poised to direct a combined total of up to $52 million toward these advances.

 "The Enlight collaboration will benefit from the expansive scope of science and commercial expertise from Johnson & Johnson, as well as from the company's commitment to an open innovation model of supporting universities and medical centres," states Dr Frank Douglas, Enlight Board member, PureTech Ventures senior partner and former chief scientific officer and executive vice president of Aventis.

Enlight proactively addresses critical unmet industry needs with innovations drawn from academic laboratories, start ups, and ideas generated internally by the Enlight team. Enlight is focused on areas that include molecular imaging, biologics, and drug formulation and delivery methods, as well as novel synthesis and production technologies and library screening. Enlight evaluates hundreds of technology opportunities per year, selecting only the top one or two to become actively managed programmes.

According to Garry A Neil, corporate vice president, Johnson & Johnson Corporate Office of Science and Technology, "Participation in this initiative will allow us to work with our consortium peers to identify technology needs and influence future industry standards. Our membership aligns with our interest in early-stage discovery platforms, enables us to review promising technologies according to our specifications prior to full development, and supports our commitment to academic research and entrepreneurship."

Enlight's launch was announced in July 2008 by PureTech Ventures, a venture creation firm translating research from top-tier academic institutions into therapies, along with existing Enlight partners Merck & Co, Inc, Pfizer Inc and Eli Lilly. Enlight's scientific advisory board is led by Nobel Laureate Dr H Robert Horvitz, Koch professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Johnson & Johnson will collaborate with the Enlight team and the other pharmaceutical partners to guide Enlight's focus areas and strategic directions, prioritize desired technologies and select active programmes. Participation in the Enlight venture will enable the research units of the pharmaceutical companies within the Johnson & Johnson Family of companies to review a large number of innovative technologies, platforms and tools and to shape the types and focus of such promising research through collaboration with the other partner companies. Johnson & Johnson, like the other partners, will have preferential access to technologies developed by new companies it opts to fund.

"Participation in this collaboration will also enable our research units to make pre-competitive knowledge available across the industry," said Roger Pomerantz, president, Tibotec Research and Development, and senior vice president, Global Virology, Johnson & Johnson. "We are excited about this opportunity to contribute to increasing the standard of medical care, particularly in our focus areas of oncology, cardiovascular and inflammation."

PureTech Ventures is a Boston-based venture creation firm specializing in translating breakthrough research from top tier academic institutions into therapies that will impact human health.