Monash University receives funding from Janssen in global health to help save mothers’ lives

Monash University today announced that it will receive funding from Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to fund a series of scientific experiments to be undertaken by Monash University to support the development of an inhaled form of oxytocin as a life-saving therapy to prevent and manage postpartum haemorrhage (PPH).

This funding will address key project development objectives and will open up the opportunity to explore future collaborative work.

Background

PPH, a condition of excessive blood loss after birth, is the leading cause of maternal mortality globally resulting in an estimated 60,000 deaths per year, overwhelmingly in the poorest countries of the world.2 Most deaths resulting from PPH could be avoided if access to suitable treatments were available.

While an intramuscular or intravenous injection of oxytocin is the current standard of care recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), accessibility to quality oxytocin in resource-poor settings is limited as these products require supply and storage under refrigerated conditions to maintain quality and trained personnel to administer the product safely.3

In response, a novel method for inhaled delivery of a powdered form oxytocin, which can be simply administered and will require no refrigeration, is being developed as the first line therapy for the prevention of PPH. This technology, originally developed at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) by a team of researchers led by Professor Michelle McIntosh, is currently licensed to GSK as part of a collaborative agreement, which commenced in 2014.

J&J and Monash Funding Agreement

“This new funding is an exciting opportunity to expand this collaboration between industry and academia to develop an important healthcare innovation that aims to address a critical unmet medical need”, Professor McIntosh said.

“There is a massive ripple effect when a mother dies - it's a very significant burden for these families and communities, and we are committed to bringing the gold-standard care to all mothers”, she said.

“Monash is internationally recognised for its expertise in biomedical innovation. With tens of thousands of women dying from post-partum haemorrhage every year, this partnership has the potential to save the lives of millions of women in the future,” said Professor Margaret Gardner, AO, President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University.

“This agreement joins a number of others in our longstanding partnership with Johnson & Johnson to help provide accessible healthcare and life-saving medicine to those in need. Monash is committed to supporting initiatives that have a positive impact on communities worldwide", she said.

The funding agreement, facilitated by Monash Innovation together with Johnson & Johnson Innovation, was announced at the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office (JJIPO@Monash).