Ontario Government, University of Toronto and MaRS secure Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS for Toronto

jnjlogoJLABS @ Toronto will be a 40,000 square foot facility holding up to 50 startups focused on biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumer and digital health. 

Participating hospitals pledge support for start-up funding

TORONTO, September 8, 2015 — The Ontario Government, University of Toronto, and MaRS Discovery District (MaRS) today announced a collaboration with Janssen Inc. to launch the successful Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS incubator model in Toronto. The new facility, called JLABS @ Toronto, will open in spring of 2016 at MaRS Discovery District and will support start-ups with lab space, programs, and potential investment partners as they work to build important, successful early-stage companies.

“The arrival of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS model to MaRS’ West Tower reinforces Ontario’s position as one of the world’s leading life sciences clusters,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. “JLABS @ Toronto will support researchers and entrepreneurs across the province and accelerate the development of Ontario companies while connecting Toronto to potential Johnson & Johnson collaborators and investors.”

“Research and innovation are fundamental to the mission of the University of Toronto,” said Dr. Meric S. Gertler, President, University of Toronto. “We host a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem featuring nine campus-led accelerators under the umbrella of our Banting & Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The addition of JLABS to this ecosystem will further propel the creation of new companies and new jobs, and ultimately new healthcare solutions that will benefit individuals and our society for years to come.”

“Toronto is home to a vibrant and prolific healthcare and life sciences community led by academic hospitals, world-class research institutions, top scientists, and a strong start-up ecosystem. For these reasons, Toronto is a natural choice for our first international expansion of JLABS,” said Melinda Richter, Head of JLABS. “The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies has long been active within the Toronto Ontario community, forming many important collaborations. Today we are pleased to begin an even deeper relationship with this important community. Our new location, within a University of Toronto site, close to our hospital collaborators, and neighbouring the financial centre of Canada, will deliver great opportunities and impact for emerging biomedical technology entrepreneurs.”

As the first JLABS to open outside the United States, JLABS @ Toronto joins a network of life science facilities that are based throughout the United States in San Diego (flagship), San Francisco, South San Francisco, Boston and Houston. These facilities are home to over 100 early-stage companies advancing bio/pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and digital health programs. JLABS @ Toronto will be located at MaRS Discovery District, occupying one floor of the West Tower.

JLABS @ Toronto will provide startups with many of the advantages of being part of an established innovation centre — such as access to talent and mentors, large existing firms and research universities, capital and convergence opportunities with other sectors. When complete, the 40,000-square foot facility will include cutting-edge, modular and scalable lab space, equipment, with access to scientific, industry and capital funding experts. The space — which will be licensed to companies by U of T — will also feature JLABS’ inaugural device and digital prototype lab that will provide entrepreneurs with access to highly specialized tools as well as skills building programs to design and develop smart health technologies. This program is planned to be replicated at other JLABS sites.

JLABS @ Toronto is a collaboration among Johnson & Johnson Innovation, The University of Toronto, MaRS Discovery District, Janssen Inc., MaRS Innovation, and the Government of Ontario. Hospital participants include: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Sinai Health System, St. Michael’s Hospital, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and University Health Network.

“The arrival of JLABS will significantly expand the resources and networks available to the health and life sciences community at MaRS and in the region,” said Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District. “The timing is perfect. Our research pipeline is strong and we now have a critical mass of high calibre young companies that are ready to take their transformative technologies and health solutions to global markets. They need access to talent, partners, customers and capital. Toronto’s time is now.”

“There are systemic efforts underway to translate the basic R&D funding that Toronto’s research community receives each year into marketable companies, products, services and license deals,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, President and CEO, MaRS Innovation. “By situating JLABS @ Toronto at the epicentre of the commercialization renaissance already underway, JLABS is joining and building on existing partnerships that will help Canadian innovations to succeed on the global stage.”

Construction of JLABS @ Toronto will begin in 2015, and is expected to be ready for occupancy by spring 2016. Over the coming months, best practices pioneered at other JLABS will be adopted to accelerate the impact and success of this new collaboration.

More details on start-up admissions and foundational programming will be shared over the coming months.

For more information, please contact:

Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS
John Lacey

The University of Toronto
Althea Blackburn-Evans

MaRS Discovery District
Lara Torvi

Janssen Inc.
Shellie Suter

MaRS Innovation
Elizabeth Monier-Williams

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