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Our Heritage

Our heritage

Our heritage

About us - Our Heritage
Janssen has grown from a small business in Belgium to one of the world’s top ten pharmaceutical companies.[1] Its namesake, Dr Paul Janssen, lay the groundwork for over 80 medicines that have gone on to save millions of lives.


Dr Paul Janssen established Janssen Pharmaceutica, one of the first independent research laboratories in Beerse, Belgium.


Janssen Pharmaceutica was acquired by Johnson & Johnson, bringing to the company Janssen’s strong capabilities in the growing field of pharmaceutical medicines. For Dr Paul Janssen, the global reach of Johnson & Johnson would enable him and his colleagues to help more patients.


Janssen continued to grow into 34 foreign affiliates, with more than 20,000 employees worldwide.


The Dr Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical research was launched, recognising transformational contributions to human health.


Fortune magazine ranks Johnson & Johnson as the number one company in pharma on the World's Most Admired Companies list. An accolade maintained for seven consecutive years and still recognised in 2020.[2]


Janssen’s areas of focus expanded with the acquisition of Actelion Pharmaceuticals, and the company began to build a portfolio in a sixth key therapy area, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. With that, Janssen moved towards serving more patients with serious illnesses and significant unmet medical needs.


Johnson & Johnson, through the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, earned a top spot on the 2018 Access to Medicine Index which ranks the 20 largest research-based pharmaceutical companies in the world on their efforts to make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics more accessible in low- and middle-income countries.[3]


To help combat the world's second worst outbreak of Ebola on record, the company committed to donate up to 500,000 doses of an investigational vaccine regimen to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[4] Since then, over 114,000 people have received the Ebola vaccine through clinical studies and vaccination initiatives, including more than 90,000 people in the DRC and Rwanda during the 2018–20 outbreak.[5]


Janssen’s Ebola vaccine regimen became the company’s first vaccine to be approved by the European Commission.[6] In addition, Janssen announced the selection of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate.[7] The expansion of the partnership between Janssen and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), aims to address the goal of providing global supply of more than one billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.[8] For the latest news, visit our COVID-19 section.

DR Paul Janssen Award


Dr Paul passed away in 2003. An exceptionally gifted and passionate scientist, he is considered to be one of the most important medical researchers of all time, someone who revolutionised modern medicine and inspired a new generation of researchers.
By the end of his life he had over 100 patents to his name, and received 22 honorary doctorates and five honorary professorships.[9]

The Dr Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical research was set up in his honour in 2004.
Each year it’s awarded to the most passionate and creative scientist or group of scientists in basic or clinical research, whose achievements have made or have strong potential to make a measurable impact on human health.

Past winnersDr Paul Janssen’s work