2016 has been a busy year for Johnson & Johnson in Cape Town as they continue to prepare their business to better serve consumers across Sub-Saharan Africa. In January, J&J opened their refurbished pharmaceutical manufacturing plant following a R300 million investment in technology and infrastructure. Then in early April, J&J launched the Global Public Health Africa Operations office in Cape Town. J&J’s Global Public Health strategy focuses in three core areas – HIV, Tuberculosis, and Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. At the launch, Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals at J&J said: ‘This is a model based on innovation, collaboration, and local empowerment that aims to address life threatening issues and deliver measurable results to improve outcomes for patients, families and communities, first across Africa, and more globally in the longer term’.
J&J has a long history of more than 86 years in South Africa and is responsible for supplying more than 25 markets within Sub-Saharan Africa. At the end of 2008, J&J had plans to close the manufacturing plant in Cape Town, but the local team fought for local manufacturing for their Sub-Saharan business. Not only have they kept manufacturing in Cape Town, but the plant won an internal J&J award in 2015 for most-improved cost competitiveness among 30 Johnson & Johnson plants worldwide. This is a great achievement and DTI Minister, Rob Davies, said at the launch of the refurbished plant that ‘this tells us that South Africa has the capability to provide a facility for world-class manufacturing, and that our people, our operations, our organisations and our support programmes are able to support and sustain world-class manufacturing in South Africa’.
Johnson & Johnson is also sharing their knowledge and strengthening innovation in Cape Town. Following our event Cape Town: Africa’s Pharma R&D and Healthtech Hub, J&J connected with Wesgro’s team who are researching the viability of the Cape Health Technology Park. J&J’s Alma Scott, Head: African Operations and Partnerships, put the team in touch with JLABS, an initiative to support budding scientists and emerging companies to transform science with breakthrough discoveries. JLABS specialists from the USA and UK have shared learnings and insights into creating an innovative facility in Cape Town. This is part of J&J’s strategy to strengthen African innovation which also includes expanding R&D skills and capacity among African scientists through a collaboration with UCT’s Drug Discovery and Development Center (H3D) and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV; and developing a cure for hepatitis B by collaborating with Wits and Janssen Sciences Ireland.
Alex Gorsky, Chairman and CEO of J&J said: ‘By directly engaging with and empowering researchers and the health care community across South Africa, we will be better able to direct our resources and advance innovations that can lead to greater impact. We think this can work anywhere in the world, but our urgency right now has to be in Africa because of the patients’ needs.’