Janssen, a brand name that for six decades has been emblazoned on Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical laboratories and prescription drugs, will be phased out as part of a corporate rebranding in the wake of the healthcare giant splitting in two.
Taking its place will be a new name, Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, which the company says better reflects the research and development work the division does. The change was made alongside a redesign of J&J’s classic cursive script into a more modern sans-serif typeface. The company’s medical device business, which J&J retained after spinning off its consumer health arm, will remain Johnson & Johnson MedTech.
“Our updated brand identity communicates our bold approach to innovation in healthcare while staying true to the care we share to patients, doctors, nurses and those who use our products,” Tesia Williams, a senior director of corporate media relations at J&J, wrote in an email.
Janssen was named for Paul Janssen, a Belgian scientist and doctor who in 1953 started a research laboratory in a small town outside of Antwerp. Nearly a decade later, J&J bought the company, then called Janssen Pharmaceutica, and folded it into its expanding pharmaceutical empire.
The division became the corporate home for a number of J&J’s subsequent acquisitions, including of Centocor, Crucell, Ortho Biotech and, most recently, Actelion. It’s produced many of J&J’s top-selling medicines, among them Risperdal, Remicade, Simponi and Zytiga.
“We understand there is significant equity in the Janssen name, and we are committed to bringing stakeholders along on the journey as we step into our future as a unified Johnson & Johnson brand,” wrote Williams, who added that the transition will take time.
It’s a journey that a number of J&J’s large pharmaceutical peers have taken in recent years. Back in 2019, AstraZeneca retired the MedImmune brand it used for years to house some of its drug R&D after acquiring the biotechnology company of the same name in 2007. More recently, in 2022, Sanofi phased out the Genzyme name for its specialty medicine unit, consigning that storied branding to the biotech history books.
Other biotech names synonymous with the industry’s coming-of-age in the 1980s, like Immunex, Shire and Celgene, have faded following their acquisitions by bigger pharma companies. One exception: Genentech, the industry’s original standard bearer, still operates as a distinct subsidiary under Roche.