Peter Menziuso.

SINGAPORE—Johnson & Johnson Vision, a part of Johnson & Johnson MedTech, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) to jointly establish an Eye Health Digital Innovation Consortium. Hosted at A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), the consortium focuses on advancing eye health research in the region. A joint investment of SGD 15 million from both organizations will be channeled into the consortium over the course of three years, according to the company’s announcement earlier this week.

As the first of its kind in APAC, the consortium will forge strategic public-private partnerships in the eye health space between eyecare 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 prioritize these needs, to accelerate research and innovation outcomes in the field, the announcement noted.

The consortium aims to focus on the following areas over the next three to five years, including but 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.

  • 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:

  1. MyoA*Bank: A digital data consent management platform that consolidates anonymised data for studies in eye health.

  2. Behaviourally-informed messages to improve eye health behaviors, such as going for comprehensive eye health check-ups, a necessary standard of care which is not part of current norms.

  3. E-referral and e-triaging for step-up and step-down care in the community.
 (L to R) Peter Menziuso, Johnson & Johnson Vision, Vaibhav Saran, Johnson & Johnson Vision, Dr Su Yi , A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing, and professor Tan Sze Wee, A*STAR at the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on July 12, marking the joint establishment of the Eye Health Digital Innovation Consortium.
These initiatives leverage data-centric research and innovative technologies such as block chain, 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, according to the announcement.

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.

"Infusing our high science with greater access to eye health data is critical as we work to shape the standard of care, particularly for APAC’s continued battle with the rise of myopia,” Peter Menziuso, company group chairman, Johnson & Johnson Vision, said. “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.”

“This consortium has an exciting opportunity to drive digital solution platforms in the prevention and management of myopia and other eye diseases,” said Vaibhav Saran, area vice president, APAC, vision care, Johnson & Johnson Vision. “These will help to enhance the eye health ecosystem that we are building.”

Professor Tan Sze Wee, assistant chief executive, enterprise, A*STAR, said that it is recognized there is a high prevalence of eye disorders among 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 to develop solutions to address this complex health care challenge,” Wee said. “We look forward to a deeper partnership with Johnson & Johnson Vision, to co-create innovative eyecare solutions for patients in Singapore and beyond.”

Added Su Yi, IHPC’s executive director, “IHPC is excited to partner Johnson & Johnson Vision in establishing the Eye Health Digital Innovation Consortium to advance eye health research in the region and improve general eye health care. IHPC will contribute expertise in blockchain and trust technologies to develop privacy-preserving data sharing solutions and computational behavioral modeling and AI to address public eye health concerns.”