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Paul Janssen

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 27 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1290

Belgian doctor who founded a drug company, now part of Johnson & Johnson

Exactly half a century ago, Paul Janssen set himself the challenge of creating a totally independent and self supporting medical research laboratory in his native Flanders, close to the Dutch border. By the time of his death earlier this month in Rome while attending a conference, he had more than 100 patents to his name, had gained widespread international recognition for his work, and had overseen the highly successful expansion of the company that he founded in 1956, Janssen Pharmaceutica. Now part of Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceutica has more than 40 foreign affiliates with a worldwide workforce of more than 23 000 employees.

It is all a far cry from the simple laboratory on the third floor of his parents' pharmaceutical import business in the Flemish town of Turnhout where Dr Paul, as he was always known to his colleagues, embarked on his professional career as a medical researcher in 1953.

Dr Paul's father, Constant Janssen, came from a farming …

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