Johnson & Johnson’s innovation center, Janssen Labs, has admitted 18 early stage companies since opening its “no strings attached” business accelerator program in San Diego a year ago. Now the incubator is opening its doors to solo entrepreneurs as well. In a statement today, Janssen Research & Development says it is making room at Janssen Labs for individual entrepreneurs in the life sciences, providing them with work space and access to the kind of high-end research tools and equipment needed to determine if an idea is really worth pursuing.
Diego Miralles, who heads J&J’s West Coast Research Center and is Janssen Labs CEO, says the goal is to adjust and improve the Janssen Labs’ model, based on feedback from startup applicants. While the initial concept was designed to foster networking, Miralles says, “we did not foresee the demand to be here, just to be here.”
In a recent interview, Miralles tells me, “The modular model made sense, but it’s not for everybody, and there are companies that don’t need a modular lab and a lockable laboratory, and their price point is lower. Can we address the needs of those people?”
To increase their capacity and services, Janssen Labs is developing a “concept lab” to be leased as 10 individual workstations. Also under construction is a separate shared office space with enough room for 20 people. It includes extra desks for startups enrolled at Janssen Labs and enough room to bring new healthcare entrepreneurs into the facility. Miralles says the office space is not just for scientists, and would be open to individuals who might be raising capital or seeking collaborations.
Miralles describes the design as a “very 21st Century office suite,” with an open layout, modern furnishings, and plenty of natural light. The idea was to create “more of an interactive, tech-like environment” that makes collaboration easy, he says. Janssen Labs also has provided a list of its current tenants, which includes some notable names, such as Troy Wilson, the former CEO at Intellikine (and San Diego Xconomist), who is now heading a startup called Wellspring Biosciences. (The list is below.)
Both additions are scheduled to open by late April and would include access to the Janssen Labs equipment and amenities, including a recently completed cafeteria.
Selection criteria for the individual spaces will be in line with the founding principles; in Miralles’ words, “great people, great science.”
The individuals must be addressing an identified healthcare need, in a field relevant to J&J, and they must be able to … Next Page »
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