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JLab life sciences incubator opens in Toronto


Toronto, ON – Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC and its partners have opened JLABS @ Toronto, a new 40,000-square-foot life sciences incubator, providing entrepreneurs shared lab space and offices, modular lab suites and access to scientific, industry and capital funding experts as they work to build important and successful early-stage companies. The new JLABS facility can accommodate up to 50 startups and opens with 22 companies that represent a range of sectors including therapeutics, medical devices and consumer health solutions. This first group of resident startups includes the seven winners of the JLABS @ Toronto Quick Fire Challenge, which awards promising early-stage innovation companies with residency at the facility.

“The expansion of JLABS into Canada helps further Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s mission to discover and advance the best science in the world that has the most potential to help patients and consumers,” said Paul Stoffels, MD, chief scientific officer and worldwide chairman, pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson. “We are confident that JLABS @ Toronto will support a vibrant ecosystem of startups and entrepreneurs with access to the world-class expertise and technology within our global network.”

JLABS supports entrepreneurs by helping them overcome common barriers to discovery and development, such as the large initial investment of time and money that is necessary to establish working labs and other business infrastructures. JLABS @ Toronto is the sixth JLABS facility to open and the first outside of the United States.

“Ontario is one of North America’s leading centres for life sciences research,” said Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Premier. “Our government’s partnership in the first JLABS in Canada will support an exciting new wave of startups, create good jobs and strengthen Ontario’s position as a hub of the knowledge-economy.”

JLABS @ Toronto is located at MaRS Discovery District and is a collaboration between Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC, the University of Toronto, MaRS Discovery District, Janssen Inc., MaRS Innovation and the Government of Ontario, and includes the following hospital partners: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Hospital for Sick Children, Sinai Health System, St. Michael’s Hospital, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and University Health Network.

JLABS @ Toronto will feature a device and digital prototype lab that will provide entrepreneurs access to highly specialized tools, as well as skill-building programs to design and develop smart health technologies.

Resident companies at JLABS @ Toronto also have the opportunity to collaborate with IBM Canada to access its entrepreneurship programs and services, including IBM Watson cognitive business technology and IBM Bluemix cloud-based development platform.

“We are thrilled to be part of the flourishing life sciences community in Toronto and to contribute to Ontario’s vision to help drive the province toward becoming a world leader in innovation for health and wellness,” said Melinda Richter, head of JLABS. “Canada’s startup scene is booming, and we look forward to working with the many enterprising innovators in the region that are working to turn science into tangible, commercial products.”

The following companies are the first to be selected as residents of JLABS @ Toronto:

6biotech: Accelerating the discovery of new drugs through the creation of technologies designed for high-value data acquisition that mimic complex in vivo biology.

Abcombi Biosciences Inc.: Providing technology platforms that can be tailored and applied to any disease treatable via prophylactic vaccination.

Biotagenics: A microbiomics platform company developing novel therapies and diagnostics targeting intestinal microbial dysbiosis in inflammatory bowel disease.

Cogniciti Inc.: Reducing the time and cost of volunteer recruitment for clinical trials through a science-validated online test for brain health.

DNAstack: Developing a cloud-based platform for genomics data analysis.

IGY Immune Technologies & Life Sciences: Designing and manufacturing technology and processes to strengthen and supplement the body’s natural immune system against broad and targeted bacterial, viral and autoimmune ailments.

Immune Biosolutions: Harnessing chicken antibodies to overcome challenges of anti-GPCR antibody generation and providing new antibody candidates for difficult druggable targets.

KalGene Pharmaceuticals: Developing a new therapeutic to bring back the memory of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Ketogen Pharma Inc.: Maximizing the therapeutic potential of the ketogenic diet to develop a new class of anti-epileptic medications.

Proteorex Therapeutics Inc.: Unlocking a treasure trove of new drug targets by targeting protein complexes in human diseases with a next generation small molecule platform technology.

Realist Pharma: Developing oncology-focused therapeutics that treat a wide range of cancers with its main programs being REAL-1 (a “next gen CAR-T” cell therapy) and REAL-2 (NCE cancer vaccines), both of which target >10 highly prevalent tumor markers.

Seegene: Proprietary priming chemistries that make multiplexed PCR easy, effective and affordable.

SYNG Pharmaceuticals: Developing the first diagnostic blood test for endometriosis and an innovative non-hormonal therapy.

Translatum Medicus Inc. (TMi): Dedicated to saving eyesight with a first-in-class immunomodulator therapy for patients with “dry” Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

Ubiquitech: An early-stage drug discovery company focusing on identifying and developing next generation cancer therapies.

App4Independence*: A4i is a digital health innovation company that provides clinically proven mobile interventions to significantly enhance treatment engagement and quality of life for individuals with psychosis and other major mental health challenges.

AVROBIO*: An innovative gene therapy company focused on immune-oncology and rare diseases.

Chestnut Pharmaceuticals*: Developing novel therapeutics for metastatic cancers employing a comprehensive approach to reverse the metastatic state of tumor cells.

Nanovista Inc.*: Achieving high-precision personalized cancer therapy with multimodal nano imaging agents: lead application in image-guided surgery.

Neutun*: Creators of a seizure tracking tool that uses devices patients already own and wear. 

PinPress*: Regular molds have one shape; PinPress is a shape-shifting tool that gives you a thousand molds in one.

Suncayr*: Helping people enjoy the sun with a smart indicator of ultraviolet light that changes colour to warn people of their sun exposure.

*Designates Quick Fire Challenge winners: