J&J Vision, A*STAR push eye health R&D for the APAC region

Johnson & Johnson Vision is working with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore to jointly establish an Eye Health Digital Innovation Consortium, which will focus on advancing eye health research in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Hosted at A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), the consortium entails a joint investment of S$15 million from both organisations, which will be infused over the course of three years. 

As the first of its kind in the region, the consortium will forge strategic public-private partnerships in the eye health space between eye care professionals (ECPs), academia, and the industry, to bring about innovations that will address pressing eye health needs. 

Through this consortium, stakeholders will be able to jointly identify and prioritise these needs, to accelerate research and innovation outcomes in the field. 

In the next three to five years, the consortium aims to focus on areas that include, but are not limited to, improved eye health care delivery from ECPs to patients in Singapore and beyond; optimising collaboration between the private and public sector to enhance eye health care delivery; and developing new technological processes to support enterprises that are directly involved in primary eye health care delivery. 

For a start, the consortium will see the creation of three new projects. First is the MyoA*Bank, a digital data consent management platform that consolidates anonymised data for studies in eye health.

Second is a project related to behaviourally informed messages to improve eye health behaviours, such as going for comprehensive eye health check-ups, a necessary standard of care which is not part of current norms

And third is a project on e-referral and e-triaging for step-up and step-down care in the community.

These initiatives leverage data-centric research and innovative technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), data privacy preservation techniques, and personal data compliance, to create trusted data access and sharing relationships between patients, ECPs, researchers, clinical practitioners and public health policy makers. 

These projects aim to deliver comprehensive solutions to change the trajectory of eye health in Singapore and beyond, and cement Singapore’s position as a Centre of Excellence in APAC for eye health care, research and innovation. 

“The wealth of knowledge that will be exchanged through this consortium will greatly enhance how we innovate bold solutions to improve healthy sight across APAC, and even more broadly,” said Peter Menziuso, company group chairman of Johnson & Johnson Vision. 

Tan Sze Wee, assistant chief executive for enterprise at A*STAR, said there is a high prevalence of eye disorders among the Singapore’s population, and this is a cause for concern. 

“Open innovation and public-private partnerships will pave the way for us to leverage strengths from different parties, and develop solutions to address this complex healthcare challenge,” said Tan.