The FINANCIAL — Johnson & Johnson on February 17 issued a call for innovative ideas as part of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, which is supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Janssen Pharmaceutica, NV, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and ViiV Healthcare.
Proposals are currently being accepted for breakthrough innovations to reduce HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. The submission deadline to be considered for an award is March 28, 2016.
A total of $85 million will be awarded for innovative, sustainable solutions to six Challenge Focus Areas that will give young women the opportunity to live the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe lives they deserve. Winning solutions must demonstrate readiness for rapid implementation in one or more of the 10 DREAMS countries and ability to show impact within two years with potential for long-lasting change, according to Johnson & Johnson.
“We believe that breakthrough innovations needed to reduce the HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women can come from anywhere in the world,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson. “Our hope in supporting the DREAMS Innovation Challenge is to unleash new ideas to help us achieve by the end of 2017, 40 percent reduction in HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women living in 10 sub-Saharan countries.”
AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age in low- and middle-income countries. Adolescent girls and young women account for 380,000 new infections a year or more than 7,000 new infections a week globally.
“While we have made considerable progress in the global response to HIV/AIDS, adolescent girls and young women have been largely left behind,” said Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “With girls and young women accounting for 71 percent of all new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, we urgently need innovative solutions that empower them to protect their health and pursue their dreams.”
“New thinking and high-impact approaches are needed to address the many complexities that drive this urgent health crisis,” said Jaak Peeters, head of Johnson & Johnson’s Global Public Health organization. “By addressing the factors and complexities that impact these young women at a fundamental level, we hope to measurably improve health outcomes and create enduring change. These are important components of Johnson & Johnson’s approach to improving global public health.”
Johnson & Johnson, through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, joined the DREAMS Partnership as an anchor partner last December. The ambitious $385 million partnership delivers a Core Package of evidence-informed approaches that go beyond the health sector, addressing the structural drivers that directly or indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence, and lack of education. The DREAMS Partnership also includes PEPFAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Gilead Sciences, and ViiV Healthcare.
Delivering Sustainable Impact in Global Public Health
Combatting HIV is an important component of Johnson & Johnson’s long-standing legacy of commitment and partnership to improve global public health for individuals, families and communities worldwide. Through its global public health organization, the company aims to deliver integrated evidence-based solutions to address comprehensive health needs and deliver meaningful and enduring impact in three core focus areas: HIV, maternal and child health, and extensively drug-resistant (XDR)- and Multidrug-resistant (MDR)- tuberculosis (TB).
DREAMS Innovation Challenge Application Information
The DREAMS Partnership expects to announce the winners in mid-July followed by implementation in early fall 2016. Challenge awards will range from $100,000 to $40 million. Solutions are sought for implementation in Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.