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J&J sets up NYC biotech incubator with partners

Pharma company establishes seventh JLABS location to house start-ups

by Ann M. Thayer
January 11, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 3

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Credit: New York Genome Center
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Credit: New York Genome Center

Johnson & Johnson is joining with the New York Genome Center to open a biotech incubator at the center’s site in New York City. Established in 2013, the nonprofit has 18 research institutions as its members. The state will contribute $17 million toward the JLABS@NYC facility, which will open in 2018.

Able to house up to 30 start-ups, the 2,800-m2 incubator is the seventh JLABS set up by J&J in five years. Biotech, pharma, medical devices, and consumer health firms can apply to become residents. A rent-free year at JLABS@NYC is the prize in a new J&J challenge seeking “cross-sector solutions to prevent, intercept, or cure diseases.”

JLABS facilities have incubated more than 200 start-ups and are now home to more than 140, J&J says. The labs provide access to scientific, industry, and investment experts, along with third-party services. Although J&J’s incubator model is “no strings attached,” 33 collaborations have arisen between the company and JLABS residents.

JLABS@NYC is part of a push by New York State to build bioscience capabilities. New York ranks in the top 20% among U.S. states in bioscience employment and R&D spending, according to a 2016 report from TEConomy Partners and the trade group Biotechnology Innovation Organization. And bioscience venture funding has risen rapidly to total $458 million in 2015. But New York City lacks affordable lab space for new companies.

Just recently, Alexandria LaunchLabs began making seed funds and lab space available for start-ups at the Alexandria Center for Life Science on Manhattan’s East Side. And in late 2016, the city itself said it plans to build a $100 million applied life sciences campus nearby.

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