Monash medical tie-up to stem post-natal fatalities

28 Mar 2019

Belgium-based Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. is sponsoring a research program at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) that may dramatically reduce the incidence of post-natal fatalities in developing countries.

Approximately 60,000 mothers die each year as a result of post-partem haemorrhaging (PPH).

The Melbourne-based program aims to develop an inhalable delivery method for the peptide hormone, oxytocin, which is the standard treatment for PPH. Janssen Pharmaceutica is part of US-based Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development.

Currently, oxytocin requires refrigerated storage and must be injected. The proposed inhaler would not require refrigeration, which means it could be stored at rural clinics. It would also be easier to administer.

According to Jaak Peeters, Global Head, Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health, Janssen-Cilag GmBH, an oxytocin inhaler could have a major impact on PPH-related mortality.

‘The lifetime risk of dying for a woman in childbirth is 23 times higher in resource-limited settings than anywhere else,’ says Peeters.

‘We hope to address this significant un-met need by helping to accelerate the development of what would be a truly life-saving innovation,’ he adds.

MIPS has pioneered research into inhalable oxytocin, and the collaboration agreement will be managed from the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office – a dedicated commercial collaboration unit based at Monash University.

‘Monash is internationally recognised for its expertise in biomedical innovation,’ says Professor Margaret Gardner, AO, President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University. ‘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.’

Launched in 2007, MIPS has rapidly become one of Australia’s most successful biomedical research institutes. It is home to approximately 250 research staff and 150 PhD students. MIPS has developed collaborative partnerships with multiple global companies, including Merck, GSK and Takeda.

The Johnson & Johnson Partnering Office at Monash was established in January 2018, in collaboration with the Victorian Government and Monash University. Its goal is to enable Victorian researchers and companies to access existing Johnson & Johnson’s expertise across the company’s scientific research programs and commercial operations.