Corporate Report

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European Cardiovascular Disease 2006 - Issue 1;2006:2(1):1-2

Johnson & Johnson, the worldÔÇÖs most comprehensive healthcare company, established Ortho Biotech Inc. (now Ortho Biotech Products, L.P.) in the US in 1990, as the first biotechnology subsidiary of a major healthcare company. A decade later, the company expanded its presence outside the US through the creation of Ortho Biotech as a separate biopharmaceutical division within Janssen-Cilag, another member of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.

Ortho Biotech has been a market leader in the treatment of anaemia across multiple therapeutic categories for more than 15 years, and is committed to leading the fight against serious illnesses.

The company has earned a global reputation for researching, manufacturing and marketing, innovative healthcare products that extend and enhance the quality of patientsÔÇÖ lives. As a global leader in therapeutics and supportive care products and services, Ortho Biotech focuses its research and marketing efforts in four therapeutic areas: oncology, nephrology, immunology and critical care/surgery.

To meet the current and future needs of the medical community, Ortho Biotech works with its sister companies including Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development (J&J PRD), ALZA Corporation, Centocor and Tibotec-Virco, to investigate new therapies and supportive care agents, with a focus on oncology, nephrology and virology.

Close working relationships with other leading biopharmaceutical companies, encompass the commercialisation and development of innovative medicines that accurately target identified mechanisms in disease. The collaborative agreement with Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to develop the innovative proteasome inhibitor VELCADE┬« (bortezomib) is an example. These partnerships represent an important element in pursuing its goal to enhance and extend patientsÔÇÖ lives. Through its Johnson & Johnson research partners, Ortho Biotech also works with the worldÔÇÖs leading academic and research institutions.

Through a product licensing agreement, Ortho Biotech markets r-HuEPO under the trade name PROCRIT® (Epoetin alfa) in the United States. The company markets epoetin alfa in the rest of the world as EPREX® / ERYPO®.

Recombinant human erythropoietin is a bioengineered form of erythropoietin, the protein made in the kidneys that is critical to red blood cell production. It has the same amino acid sequence as the bodyÔÇÖs naturally occurring hormone. The product stimulates bone marrow production of red blood cells to produce a timely and significant rise in haemoglobin levels, enabling patients to resume their activities of daily living.

EPREX®/ERYPO® (Epoetin alfa) is indicated for:

  • treating anaemia associated with chronic renal failure in patients on haemodialysis and via the intravenous route of administration for pre-dialysis patients;
  • treating anaemia and reduction of transfusion requirements in adult patients receiving chemotherapy for solid tumours, malignant lymphoma or multiple myeloma and at risk of transfusion as assessed by the patientÔÇÖs general status (e.g., cardiovascular status, pre-existing anaemia at the start of chemotherapy);
  • increasing the yield of autologous blood from patients in a predonation programme with moderate anaemia, when blood saving procedures are insufficient or unavailable;
  • reducing exposure to allogeneic blood transfusions in adult non-iron deficient patients, with moderate anaemia prior to major elective orthopaedic surgery and a high perceived risk for transfusion complications.1

Outside of the U.S., Ortho Biotech has a collaboration agreement for the worldwide development and marketing of VELCADE® (bortezomib), the first of a new class of medicines called proteasome inhibitors that represent the first approved, effective therapy for patients with multiple myeloma (MM) in more than a decade. VELCADE® (bortezomib) kills cancerous plasma cells in the bone marrow by inhibiting proteasomes, which are associated with several precancer cellular processes. VELCADE received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval based on phase II trial data in May 2003 for MM patients who received at least two prior therapies and demonstrated disease progression on the last therapy. It was also was approved in the European Union n April 2004. A year later (April 2005) bortezomib was approved in the European Union for second-line use and now is indicated as monotherapy for use in patients with progressive MM who have received at least one prior therapy and who have already undergone or are unsuitable for bone marrow transplantation.

In collaboration with J&JPRD, Ortho Biotech, is developing ZARNESTRA® (tipifarnib), an orally active anti-cancer treatment currently in clinical development. ZARNESTRA® (tipifarnib) is a farnesyl transferase inhibitor (FTI), a new class of anti-cancer treatment which blocks the internal cellular signals that cause growth.

Beyond its products and services, Ortho Biotech is recognised widely for its compassion and commitment to the communities it serves. The company is well known for its role in developing unique professional education and patient support programmes to address the unmet needs of providers, patients and caregivers, many of which are carried out in conjunction with leading medical and patient advocacy organisations.

Among these are patient screening, peer-counselling and comprehensive patient caregiver programmes, and initiatives that educate patients and caregivers on policy issues, such as access to quality care, reimbursement and employment rights. Ôûá

For more information about Ortho Biotech, visit our Web site at

  1. Indications may differ subject to the approval status of the product in different countries. Please refer to the approved product information.