Johnson & Johnson today announced the opening of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation center in Boston, the third of four regional hubs being established in the world’s leading life science hotspots. A part of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the goal of the Boston Innovation Center is to advance healthcare by catalyzing collaborations in science and technology between regional innovators and the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies across a diverse spectrum of early-stage opportunities.
The Boston Innovation Center is home to a team of business, science and transaction experts who are focused on identifying and building novel early-stage collaborations with emerging companies, entrepreneurs and academic centers across eastern North America. This team has full and broad deal-making capabilities, with flexibility to adapt deal structures to match early-stage needs and opportunities.
“The East Coast’s significance as a hotbed for life sciences innovation grounded in collaboration is indisputable, and continues to grow,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Johnson & Johnson Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals. “With the establishment of our Boston Innovation Center, we look forward to further fostering collaboration with some of the world’s leading scientists, renowned academic centers, and influential entrepreneurs to enable future innovations that will advance human health.” Representatives of Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC), the venture capital subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, are co-located at the Boston Innovation Center to identify and invest in external opportunities. Since its inception in 1973, JJDC has been among the top-tier healthcare venture capital companies investing in and developing new businesses that create leading technologies, products and services.
“In Massachusetts we invest in the life sciences because we are choosing to shape our own future,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “I welcome the Johnson & Johnson Innovation center to our life sciences supercluster and look forward to the jobs and economic opportunities that their new collaborations will bring.” Johnson & Johnson Innovation today announced the Boston Innovation Center’s first collaborations and new initiatives, including new relationships with leading academic researchers and emerging biotech companies, as well as funding to support the needs of the next generation of startup life science ventures. New collaborations and initiatives include: Research Alliance with Mount Sinai – Janssen Biotech, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have established a research alliance with The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to advance the scientific understanding of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and the discovery of next generation therapeutic solutions. Scientists from the Janssen Immunology Therapeutic Area and researchers from Mount Sinai will work in partnership to investigate disease triggers, identify new opportunities for therapeutic interventions and establish diagnostics to facilitate precision medicine and predictive biomarkers. The first-of-its-kind industry and academic partnership brings together Janssen research and development capabilities with an early-stage life science investment through the Johnson & Johnson Innovation center in Boston and Mount Sinai’s expertise in computational biology, clinical and translational research in IBD.
Collaboration with Rodin Therapeutics – Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC) has made an investment in Rodin Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on applying insights of epigenetics to advance novel therapeutics for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. The Boston Innovation Center and Janssen Research & Development, LLC, part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, will engage in scientific collaboration with Rodin Therapeutics with the goal of sharing knowledge and expertise to advance novel solutions in CNS.
Investment in Vedanta Biosciences – JJDC has made an investment in Vedanta Biosciences to facilitate the Boston Innovation Center collaboration with Vedanta to advance a novel class of therapies that modulate pathways of interaction between the human microbiome and the host immune system. Vedanta has developed a discovery platform to mine novel mechanisms by which the microbiome modulates the immune system, and is working to advance a first-in-class preclinical candidate for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson have identified the human microbiome as a strategic area of research and seek to forge collaborations with leading companies with promising programs in this emerging field of science. Vedanta was co-founded by PureTech Ventures and a group of world-renowned experts in immunology and microbiology.
Expanded Janssen Labs to Cambridge, Mass. – Johnson & Johnson Innovation will establish Janssen Labs at the LabCentral facility in the Kendall Square biotech hub. Janssen Labs @LabCentral marks the first East Coast expansion for Janssen Labs, which will operate with the same open-innovation, no-strings-attached approach as it does at the flagship Janssen Labs in San Diego and the recently announced Janssen Labs @QB3 with University of California, San Francisco. As a Founding Sponsor of LabCentral, Johnson & Johnson Innovation will select a few high-potential innovators for the shared-laboratory space who are focused on promising science that addresses important unmet medical needs. LabCentral is a nonprofit organization, designed to be a “one-stop-shop,” offering premier, fully equipped laboratory space, plus the infrastructure and support that emerging life sciences companies need to transition from a science/technology-focus to a successful commercial-stage enterprise. As part of this agreement, Johnson & Johnson Innovation will also have an on-site office to facilitate collaboration with other start-ups located at LabCentral.
“We are thrilled to officially open the doors to the Boston Innovation Center today, deepening our long-held commitment to supporting this vibrant life science ecosystem,” said Robert Urban, Ph.D., Head, Boston Innovation Center. “We look forward to serving as a single point of entry for innovators to efficiently and creatively explore relationships and investment opportunities across the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, with the ultimate goal of bringing new innovations to improve health and patient care.” The Boston Innovation Center augments the existing presence and contributions of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in the state, which includes headquarters in Raynham, Mass., for the DePuy Family of Companies, global leaders in providing healthcare solutions in orthopaedics, spinal care, sports medicine and neurosciences.
In addition to the new Johnson & Johnson Innovation center in Boston, a center in London opened in March, a center in California opened in early June, and a fourth is planned to open in Shanghai by the end of the year. Each city was selected for its robust life sciences community, which provides a rich environment for identifying investment, in-licensing and collaboration opportunities.
The Boston Innovation Center is located at One Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02142.