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Ekta's Perspective: Innovation at the Crossroads of Biology and Technology Ekta's Perspective: Innovation at the Crossroads of Biology and Technology

There are thousands of jobs related to product and business development at tech companies. What if you apply the same lens, but focus exclusively on healthcare innovation, to solve the toughest health challenges of today and advance the transformative medicines of tomorrow?

Ekta Butala shares how her unique business perspective is helping our team of passionate innovators at Johnson & Johnson drive better healthcare outcomes for people around the globe.

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We believe that health is everything—that it’s possible for us to build a world where diseases are prevented, treated and cured.

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A Guide for Product and Business Development in Oncology

You’re probably familiar with job titles similar to Ekta’s: “Director, New Product and Business Development Strategy, Oncology” (perhaps minus the “Oncology” bit). But as for the scope of her work—and the outcomes she’s driving at the intersection of biology and technology—probably not.

Rather than debating, say, whether a new feature will lead to more user engagement, as Ekta points out, “There are meaningful real-world consequences to every decision that we make in oncology—and that’s true of my work every single day. We’re influencing critically important outcomes for patients around the world: differences in life expectancy, for example, or differences in quality of life and more.”

Doing that brings Ekta into near-constant dialogue with a large, collaborative and cross-functional team of experts, including more than 13,000 scientists globally, all united around a common goal.

“We believe that health is everything, that it’s possible for us to build a world where diseases are prevented, treated and cured—but only if people are able to access the medicines they need,” Ekta adds.

Aiming for the Extraordinary Every Day

We’re aiming for the extraordinary every day at Johnson & Johnson, as Ekta can attest. To that end, a big part of her role is to connect big ideas—the seeds of next-generation medicines and transformational science—with resources to accelerate their impact, and hopefully benefit patients everywhere.

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Ekta Butala, Director, New Product and Business Development Strategy, Oncology

“We’re focused on transformational science to elevate the standard of care for patients, and we know strategic partnerships and collaborations are a way for us to accelerate early-stage innovation,” she says, pointing to a recent example.

“Radiation remains part of the standard of care for many forms of cancer, but one of its major drawbacks is that it also damages healthy cells, not just tumor sites," Ekta explains. "With that in mind, I’m currently supporting decision-making and strategy related to a company whose technology injects these highly specialized nanoparticles into tumor sites, and those particles get activated by radiation in turn. As a result, it can increase absorption of the radiotherapy at the tumor site, while decreasing its absorption in the healthy surrounding tissues."

She continues, “This technology is now in clinical testing, which is why, when I think about what the future holds, I almost feel overwhelmed by the sense of what we can accomplish. It’s all happening right now—often right before my eyes—at Johnson & Johnson.”

Innovating for Better Health Outcomes

The way we approach innovation is another differentiator in Ekta’s mind.

“Bringing a wide range of voices to the table is standard operating procedure at Johnson & Johnson,” she observes. “For example, my team doesn’t have to wonder ‘How might someone from the clinical team think about this challenge?’ or ‘What would be the input from scientific affairs?’ because those experts are right there in the room with us. Bringing everyone to the table, hearing and respecting their perspectives and opinions, giving and getting honest feedback around ideas—this is what innovation looks like at Johnson & Johnson.”

Ongoing learning and development are a key part of that, in ways both formal and informal, from the top down and the bottom up.

“In my experience, there are unlimited opportunities for learning and growth here,” Ekta says. “You can take on a stretch or a grow assignment, for example, or it can happen more organically. But either way, we’ve built such a collaborative, hands-on culture of learning that it’s incredibly easy to find a mentor to match your interests, no matter what they might be.”

Join the Team in Innovative Medicine

We’re aiming for the extraordinary at Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, connecting big ideas with unmatched resources, including an R&D investment of more $14 billion annually. It’s the kind of impact that Ekta's driving firsthand—and you can, too, when you join her.

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