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Paul Janssen

  Paul Adriaan Jan Janssen (born on 12 September 1926 in Turnhout, Belgium - 11 November, 2003 in Rome, Italy) was the founder of Janssen Pharmaceutica, a pharmaceutical company with over 20,000 employees. He achieved a postdoctorate in Pharmacology and is one of Belgium's most loved figures, even posthumously.

Dr. Paul Janssen was the son of Constant Janssen and Margriet Fleerackers. On 16 April 1957, he married Dora Arts. Paul Janssen died in Rome, Italy in 2003, while attending the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Pontificial Academy of Sciences. He was survived by his widow, Dora Arts Janssen, two sons, three daughters and 13 grandchildren.

In 2005 he finished as runner up in the poll for "The Greatest Belgian" organised by the regional Flemish television.



He attended secondary school at the St-Josef College in Turnhout, after which he decided to follow in his father's footsteps. During the second world war, Paul Janssen studied physics, biology, and chemistry at the Facultés universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix (FUNDP) in Namur. He then studied medicine at the Catholic University of Leuven and the University of Ghent. In 1951 Paul Janssen graduated "magna cum laude" in medicine from the University of Ghent.


During his military service, he could also work at the University of Cologne in Germany at the Institute of Pharmacology of Prof. Dr. J. Schuller, where he worked until 1952. After he returned to Belgium he worked part-time at the Institute of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, at the University of Ghent, of Professor Corneille Heymans, who had won the Nobel prize for medicine in 1938. Dr. Paul Janssen founded his own research laboratory in 1953, with a loan of 50,000 Belgian francs from his father.

In 1956, Paul Janssen received his teaching certificate for higher education in pharmacology with a thesis on “Compounds of the R 79 type.” He then left the university and in 1956 established the company which would become Janssen Pharmaceutica.

Janssen Pharmaceutica discovered more than 80 new medicines. Four (five overall) of his medicines are on the WHO list of essential medicines; this is an absolute world record.

For his contributions to medicine Dr. Paul Janssen was honored on several occasions. Dr. Paul Janssen received more than 80 medical prizes and 22 honorary PhDs. In 1990 Dr Paul Janssen was knighted by Albert II of Belgium and became a Baron.

Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research

The Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research was founded by Johnson & Johnson in 2005 to honor the memory of Dr. Paul Janssen. The Award, which is given every two years, serves to promote, recognize and reward passion and creativity in biomedical research and to underline Johnson & Johnson's commitment to scientific excellence in the advance of healthcare knowledge while fulfilling its responsibility in the community.

In September 2006, Craig C. Mello, Ph. D., a professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was named the inaugural recipient of the Award. Dr. Mello was selected for his role in the discovery of RNA interference (RNAi) and the elucidation of its biological functions.

Further reading

  • van Gestel S, Schuermans V, Thirty-three years of drug discovery and research with Dr. Paul Janssen, Drug Development Research, Volume 8, Issue 1-4 , pp. 1-13.

See also

NAME Janssen, Dr. Paul Adriaan Jan
DATE OF BIRTH 12 September 1926
PLACE OF BIRTH Turnhout, Belgium
DATE OF DEATH 11 November 2003
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Paul_Janssen". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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