Johnson & Johnson Vision and Singapore’s A*STAR Forge Partnership to Create Digital Eye Health Consortium

Johnson & Johnson Vision, the eye health unit of Johnson & Johnson MedTech, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Science, Technology and Research Agency, an agency under the Department of Trade and Industry of Singapore, to jointly establish a Digital Eye Health Innovation Consortium.

Based on a press release, the consortium will focus on advancing eye health research. Over the next three years, JJVision and A*STAR will collectively invest SG$15 million ($10.7 million) in the consortium.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Considered the first of its kind in Asia-Pacific, the consortium will establish public-private partnerships between eye care professionals, universities and the eye health industry. These partnerships will jointly identify and prioritize the most pressing eye health needs in the region and develop innovations to meet those needs.

Over the next five years, it will focus on key areas including improving the delivery of eye health care; optimize collaborations to improve the delivery of eye health care; and developing new technological processes to support companies involved in the delivery of primary eye health care.

The consortium will initially work on projects that will take advantage of data-centric research and new technologies, such as blockchain, AI and techniques for preserving data privacy, and personal data compliance to create reliable access to data and enable data sharing between patients, eye care professionals, researchers, clinical practitioners and public health policy makers. These projects are:

  1. MyoA*Bank: a digital data consent management platform that consolidates anonymized data for eye health studies.

  2. Behavior-based messages to improve eye health behaviors, such as having comprehensive eye health checkups.

  3. E-referral and e-triage for progressive and progressive care in the community.

A*STAR’s Institute of High-Performance Computing, which will host the consortium, will bring its expertise in blockchain and trust technologies to the development of said projects.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT

Nearly two-thirds of patients with moderate to severe visual impairment worldwide come from East, South and Central Asia. Specifically, South Asia has the highest prevalence of moderate to severe visual impairment at 17.5% and mild visual impairment at 12.2%. study found. Most of these impairments, according to A*STAR, are caused by preventable conditions.

One of the reasons for this upward trend is the aging population of APAC. A study published in the journal The Lancet Global Health reported that over the past two decades, the number of blind people in the region has jumped 17.6% due to population growth and aging.

When it comes to myopia, high-income countries in the region, including Singapore, have the highest overall prevalence of this condition in the world at 53.4%, a study Noted. In Singapore, it is predicted that around 80-90% of its adult population will be nearsighted by 2050.

Even though there is a huge need for eye care among Asian populations, it remains an unmet demand, according to JJVision. In Southeast Asia, for example, only four out of ten countries have achieved an optimal ophthalmologist-to-population ratio (one per 100,000) despite most of the region’s ophthalmologists residing in urban areas, according to a review. paper.

“So, as eye diseases and eye health needs become more prevalent in the Asia-Pacific region, the development of innovative solutions and the effective delivery of eye care are more critical than ever,” JJVision emphasized.

THE GREAT TREND

The creation of a digital eye health consortium in APAC led by JJVision comes as the company released in August last year its three-year roadmap for the development of Singapore’s integrated eye health ecosystem. It seeks to implement some key initiatives, including an online referral network for community eye health, an AI-powered eye care service, and telehealth.

REGISTRATION

“There is a high prevalence of eye disorders among the people of Singapore, and this is cause for concern. Open innovation and public-private partnerships will pave the way for us to leverage the strengths of different parties and develop solutions to address this complex healthcare challenge,” said Tan Sze Wee, Deputy General Manager for Enterprise at A*STAR.

JJVision APAC Vice President for Vision Care Vaibhav Saran also noted that the consortium has “an exciting opportunity to pilot digital solution platforms in the prevention and management of myopia and other eye diseases. “. “These will help improve the eye health ecosystem we are building,” he added.

“Infusing our cutting-edge science with greater access to eye health data is essential as we work to shape the standard of care, especially for APAC’s ongoing fight against the rise of myopia. The wealth of knowledge that will be exchanged through this consortium will dramatically improve how we innovate bold solutions to improve vision health across APAC, and even more broadly,” also commented the JJVision Group President. , Peter Menziuso.

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