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Janssen Pharmaceutica

Janssen Pharmaceutica, is a pharmaceutical company based in Beerse, Belgium, was established in 1953 by Dr. Paul Janssen. It was created not as a subsidiary of a chemical factory but solely with the aim of conducting pharmacological research. The company's stated aim is the continuous development of better drugs to improve the quality of life.

In 1961 Janssen Pharmaceutica joined the Johnson & Johnson group and is now part of the company's worldwide research and development centre, the Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development (J&J PRD) which conducts research and development activities related to a wide range of human medical disorders, including mental illness, neurological disorders, anaesthesia and analgesia, gastrointestinal disorders, fungal infection, allergies and cancer.



The early roots of what would become Janssen Pharmaceutica date back to 1933. In 1933 Dr. Constant Janssen, the father of Paul Janssen, acquires the right to distribute the pharmaceutical products of Richter, a Hungarian pharmaceutical company, for Belgium, the Netherlands and Belgian Congo. On 23 October 1934, he founded the N.V. Produkten Richter in Turnhout. In 1937 Constant Janssen acquired an old factory building in the Statiestraat 78 in Turnhout for his growing company, which he expanded during World War II into a four-storey building. Still a student, Paul Janssen helps on the development of Perdolan. After the war, the name for the company products was changed in Eupharma, although the company name Richter would remain until 1956.

Dr. Paul Janssen founded his own research laboratory in 1953 on the third floor of the building in the Statiestraat, still within the Richter-Eurpharma company of his father. In 1955, he and his team developed their first drug: Neomeritine (ambucetamide), an antispasmodic found to be particularly effective for the relief of menstrual pain. On 5 April 1956, the name of the company was changed in NV Laboratoria Pharmaceutica Dr. C. Janssen (named after Dr. Constant Janssen). On 27 April 1957, the company opened a new research facility in Beerse, but the move to Beerse would not be completed until 1971-1972. On 2 May 1958, the research department in Beerse became a separate legal entity, the N.V. Research Laboratorium Dr. C. Janssen.

On 24 October 1961, the company was acquired by the American group Johnson & Johnson. The negotiations with Johnson & Johnson were led by Frans Van den Bergh, head of the Board of Directors. In 1964, on 10 February, the name was changed to Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. and the seat of the company in Turnhout was also transferred to Beerse. The company was led by Paul Janssen, Bob Stouthuysen and Frans Van Den Bergh. When, in 1971-1972 the pharmaceutical production also came to Beerse, the move from Turnhout was completed.

Janssen Pharmaceutica expanded worldwide; in 1990, it had already 3000 employees in Belgium, further expanding up to 4600 in 2004. In 2004 there worked about 28000 people for Janssen Pharmaceutica worldwide.

Janssen Pharmaceutica from the beginning emphasized as its core activity research for the development of new drugs. The research department which was established in Beerse in 1957, developed into a large research campus. In 1987, the Janssen Research Foundation (JRF) was founded which performs research into new drugs, also in other laboratories around the globe. Janssen Pharmaceutica became the Flemish company with the largest budget for research and development. Beside the headquarters in Beerse with its research departments, pharmaceutical production and the administrative departments, Janssen Pharmaceutica in Belgium still has offices in Berchem (Janssen-Cilag), a chemical factory in Geel, and Janssen Biotech in Olen.

The Chemical Production plant in Geel, makes the active ingredients for the company’s medicines. In 1975, the first plant of a new chemical factory Plant I was established in Geel, Plant II was opened in 1977, Plant III' in 1984, and Plant IV in 1995. In 1999 the remaining chemical poduction in Beerse would be transferred to Geel. About 80% of its active components are manufactured here. The site in Geel also manufactures about two-thirds of the worldwide chemical production of the pharmaceutical sector of Johnson & Johnson.

In 1999, clinical research and non-clinical development become a global organization within Johnson & Johnson. In 2001, part of the research activities was transferred to the United States with the reorganization of research activities in the Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Development (JJPRD) organization. The research activities of the Janssen Research Foundation (JRF) and the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute (PRI) (United States) were merged into the new global research organization. A new building for pharmaceutical development is completed in Beerse in 2001. In 2002, a new logistics and informatics centre is opened at a new site, Beerse 2. In 2003 two new research buildings are constructed, the Discovery Research Center (DRC), and the Drug Safety Evaluation Center (DSEC). On 27 October 2004, the Dr. Paul Janssen Research Center, for discovery research, was inaugurated.

The success of Janssen Pharmaceutica is commonly attributed to the vision of its founder, who himself was a brilliant scientist, but was also surrounded by talented and motivated employees, both scientifically and commercially. Dr. Paul Janssen created an environment which stimulated the creativity of his research workers.

Janssen Pharmaceutica in China

  In 1985, Janssen Pharmaceutica was the first Western pharmaceutical company to set up a pharmaceutical factory in the People's Republic of China (Xi'an). Already in 1983, Janssen had signed a cooperation contract to modernise products in an existing, but old, chemical factory in Hanzhong (in the province Shaanxi) and to produce the active compound of some Janssen products, such as mebendazole. Paul Appermont and Joos Horsten were responsible for the project.

In 1976 Paul Janssen had met the Lebanese-American doctor George Shafik Hatem (1912-1988) who was known in China under the name Ma Haide. Paul Janssen met with Ma Haide for three days in 1976, and decided to start a business in China right after the Cultural Revolution (1967-1976) and the opening to the west by Deng Xiaoping in 1978. The first factory was set up by Joos Horsten in Hanzhong, after which the second and larger factory followed in X'ian.

Some drugs developed by Janssen Pharmaceutica

R-code Name Brandname Synthetized Marketed
R5 ambucetamide Neomeritine 1953 1955
R79 isopropamide iodide Priamide-Janssen 1954 1955
R253 diisopromine Bilagol 1955 1956
R516 cinnarizine Stugeron 1955 1958
R875 dextromoramide Palfium 1955 1957
R1132 diphenoxylate Reasec 1956 1960
R1625 haloperidol Haldol 1958 1959
R2498 trifluperidol Triperidol 1959 1961
R3345 pipamperone Dipiperon 1960 1961
R3365 piritramide Dipidolor 1960 1967
R4263 fentanyl Fentanyl 1960 1963
R4584 benperidol Frenactyl 1961 1965
R4749 droperidol Dehydrobenzperidol 1961 1963
R4845 bezitramide Burgodin 1961 1971
R6218 fluspirilene Imap 1963 1971
R6238 pimozide Orap 1963 1970
R7904 lidoflazine Clinium 1964 1969
R11333 bromperidol Impromen 1966 1981
R12564 levamisole Ergamisol 1966 1969
R13672 haloperidol decanoate Haldol decanoas 1967 1981
R14889 miconazole nitrate Daktarin 1967 1971
R14950 flunarizine Sibelium 1967 1977
R15889 lorcainide Remivox 1968 1983
R16341 penfluridol Semap 1968 1973
R16470 dexetimide Tremblex 1968 1972
R16659 etomidate Hypnomidate 1964 1977
R17635 mebendazole Vermox 1968 1972
R18553 loperamide Imodium 1969 1973
R33800 sufentanil citrate Sufenta 1974 1979
R33812 domperidone Motilium 1974 1978
R35443 oxatomide Tinset 1975 1981
R39209 alfentanil Rapifen 1976 1983
R41400 ketoconazole Nizoral 1976 1981
R43512 astemizole Hismanal 1977 1983
R46541 bromperidol decanoate Impromen decanoas 1978 1984
R49945 ketanserin tartrate Sufrexal 1980 1987
R50547 levocabastine Livostin 1979 1989
R51211 itraconazole Sporanox 1980 1986
R51619 cisapride Prepulsid 1980 1989
R64766 risperidone Risperdal 1984 1993

Janssen Pharmaceutica has developed and brought to the market about 70 new active substances (NCE), of which the most well-known are (name may differ):

  • Imodium (against diarrhoea. Active substance: loperamide)
  • Motilium (against flatulence - and bowel impairments. Active substance: domperidone)
  • Reminyl (against Alzheimer disease (dementia). Active substance: galantamine)
  • Daktarin (against fungal infections. Active substance: miconazole)
  • Nizoral (against dandruff, Active substance: ketoconazole)
  • Durogesic (fentanylpatch for pain suppression. Active substance: fentanyl)
  • Vermox (against worms. Active substance: mebendazole)
  • Risperdal (antipsychotic, against mental illness such as schizophrenia. Active substance: risperidone)

Five drugs of Janssen Pharmaceutica, in the course of time, were put on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines:


  • Revenue:
    • 2001: 1568 M Euro
    • 2002: 1674
    • 2003: 1876
    • 2004: 1934
    • 2005: 2104
  • Profit:
    • 2001: 285 M Euro
    • 2002: 282
    • 2003: 355
    • 2004: 433
    • 2005: 346
  • Employment in Belgium
    • 1955: 190
    • 1960: 350
    • 1965: 465
    • 1970: 807
    • 1975: 1378
    • 1980: 1734
    • 1985: 2322
    • 1990: 2914
    • 1995: 3245
    • 2000: 4036
    • 2001: 3954
    • 2002: 4234
    • 2003: 4386
    • 2004: 4343
    • 2005: 4715
    • 2007: 4723

See also


  • Geerdt Magiels, Paul Janssen. Pionier in farma en in China, Houtekiet, 2005.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Janssen_Pharmaceutica". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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