Creating A Roadmap For Business Implementation, Fund Allocation, And Risk Mitigation Strategies

By Sharon Chan, Head Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS Asia Pacific

Sharon Chan, Head Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS Asia PacificIn her illustrious career spanning over two decades, Sharon has successfully handled key positions across diverse healthcare functions. Additionally, she was the Founding Member of the Technology & Innovation Committee at The British Chamber of Commerce, Shanghai and currently serves as one of the Board of Directors with Right 2 Thrive. In a recent conversation with Bimlesh Prasad (Correspondent, CEOInsights Asia), Sharon shared her insights on various aspects pertaining to the current healthcare ecosystem in the Asia-Pacific region. Below are a few key extracts from the exclusive interview

Share your thoughts on the current healthcare innovation landscape in Singapore.

Singapore has a very vibrant life science innovation ecosystem. It is rapidly evolving to meet growing healthcare needs of the ageing population, rise in chronic diseases and higher healthcare costs. It is this combination of a strong foundation in innovative basic science and coordinated clinical research that has positioned Singapore's government as a highly efficient source for translating data. Despite recent headwinds, we continue to see positive signs in the life science sector in Singapore in terms of number and size of new funds raised, IPOs, strategic partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region.

What are the common challenges healthcare CEOs face in terms of innovation?

The healthcare industry today is facing a myriad of complex challenges that seem to multiply exponentially. It is only through partnerships and collaborations that we can maximize our efforts towards tackling these barriers. We recognize great ideas, novel insights and new inventions can come from anyone or anywhere - be it startups, entrepreneurs or academics. Thus, we are strongly committed to nurture the early-stage innovation ecosystem in Singapore and Asia-Pacific to further Johnson & Johnson's legacy of shaping health and well-being by championing transformational early healthcare innovation wherever it originates. No company can have a monopoly in the area of innovation, as we all need partners. Innovators require collaboration to identify and accelerate development and access to people in need and only together can we then unleash the power of

science and technology to advance healthcare for all. Great ideas can come from anywhere, but transforming those them into great solutions isn’t easy and demands a lot of research. Innovation is at its best when we bring together the best minds and the best science. In the lifescience ecosystem, this can really spark the next great idea and nurture its development. However, no single entity can do this alone and requires collaboration across diverse healthcare segments to nurture and accelerate breakthrough innovations. New ways of collaborating and creating shared value is very much necessary today for lifescience ecosystem to flourish globally.

"Great ideas can come anywhere, but transforming those ideas into great solutions isn’t easy and demands a lot of research"

How is JLABS supporting startups and entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector in their innovation efforts?

Bringing a product into the market isn’t easy with startups across the world face universal challenges in developing their potential solution and launching it into market. To transform an idea from concept to a commercially viable healthcare solution, there is a need for financial resources, facilities and expertise in regulatory policies pertaining to commercialization. This is where our comprehensive JLABS model comes into the picture by enabling and empowering emerging companies with knowledge, experience, partnerships and venture connections across the broad healthcare spectrum, including pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors. We believe in fostering a culture of collaboration and knowledge-sharing to drive innovation forward and bring new ideas into the market efficiently. We do so by providing access to mentorship, industry connections and entrepreneurship programs to entrepreneurs and startups working on groundbreaking ideas, technologies and solutions across the spectrum of healthcare innovation aimed at changing the trajectory of health outcomes for patients.

What is your advice to upcoming healthcare industry leaders?

One thing I consistently see among CEOs in this industry is their ability to remain agile, openness to learn from even the hardest situations and to adopt new ways of working when faced with any setbacks. To be agile, CEOs require balance, coordination, quick reflexes, strength and endurance. Additionally, they must embrace failure and tolerate both short and long term ambiguity. I would urge all startups and innovators to look beyond what’s happening in the current environment, dream big, and collaborate with each other to go further.  

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