JLABS Takes Stock of Its Experiment in Life Sciences Innovation

Xconomy San Diego — 

What began as a kind of business experiment in innovation has acquired a life of its own.

The idea in 2011 was to create a space at what was then Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical research and development facility in San Diego for an “innovation center,” a place where 18 to 20 life sciences startups could incubate, replete with lab space and equipment. J&J would screen applicants and charge them to lease the space, but would not require an ownership stake or impose licensing requirements on the startups. It would be a “no strings attached” deal.

The first JLABS incubator opened here in 2012.

Now, as part of a five-year anniversary celebration taking place in San Diego next week, JLABS is taking stock of an initiative that has expanded to six other sites in four cities, with an eighth incubator scheduled to open in 2018 at the New York Genome Center in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. With more than 700 people registered to attend the October 19 event in San Diego, Melinda Richter, who oversees JLABS for Johnson & Johnson Innovation, said, “We want to talk about the progress we’ve made since the first JLABS incubator opened five years ago.”

In San Diego, the JLABS facility now houses 44 life sciences startups, including nine led by women (more on JLABS diversity below). From this initial experiment, Richter said JLABS went on to create incubators under separate partnerships in San Francisco (with the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, or QB3) and Boston (with the University of Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center, or M2D2), “which was another experiment.” (JLABS eventually established two incubators in each region.) From there, Richter said JLABS opened facilities in Houston and Toronto, and “now we are looking at this as a longer-term plan.”

JLABS_San Diego Lab (JLABS photo used with permision)

Inside JLABS San Diego

This proliferation of JLABS sites over the past five years has included a substantial build-out of in-house support programs for life sciences startups that has gone largely unrecognized. So JLABS quantified some of the results in a report released earlier this week:

—From some 1,500 applications, JLABS has admitted 312 startups, which includes 179 current tenants at its seven sites throughout North America. (JLABS estimates that 80 percent of the total admitted are still in business.) In addition to lab space, JLABS said it has hosted 1,260 investor meetings and provided almost 850 networking and educational events, which include technical training, mentoring sessions, and “How to” workshops.

—Of the startups admitted, roughly 30 percent joined with less than $1 million in funding; about 45 percent entered with just one or two employees. In the ensuing years, JLABS estimates that its startups have collectively raised some $9.4 billion through financings and strategic relationships. (This number includes IPOs and buyouts as well.)

—As a testament to … Next Page »

Single PageCurrently on Page: 1 2

By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.