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JLABS opens Toronto MaRS Discovery District life sciences incubator

Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne were on hand yesterday at the MaRS Discovery District to officially open JLABS @ Toronto, a 40,000 square foot life sciences incubator run by Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC, the entrepreneurial accelerator division of Johnson & Johnson.

JLABS is a global network of incubator spaces operated by Johnson & Johnson, with other locations in San Diego and Houston, Texas, and related Innovation Centres in Menlo Park, California, Boston and London.

The first JLABS facility in Canada, this space is housed on the 13th floor of the MaRS West Tower, and will be a research centre for start-ups working on bio/pharmaceutical, medical device, and digital health solutions.

“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.”

Stoffels hosted government representatives and start-up participants, who will be provided with shared lab and office space, as well as access to expertise relating to science, industry and capital fundraising.

The JLABS space begins with a cohort of 22 companies, with capacity to host up to 50, working out of modular lab suites on innovative solutions in the therapeutics, medical device and consumer health sectors.

“Ontario is one of North America’s leading centres for life sciences research,” said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. “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 know
Helping entrepreneurs overcome initial barriers to development, such as the resources required for establishing functional laboratories, JLABS features a device and digital prototype lab, skill-building programs, and the opportunity to collaborate with IBM Canada, including access to 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.”

Seven of the 22 initial start-ups were winners of the JLABS @ Toronto Quick Fire Challenge.
“Our government’s partnership with JLABS @ Toronto builds on our efforts to move Ontario to the forefront of innovation, while creating a more diverse economic climate,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.

A collaboration between Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC, the University of Toronto, MaRS Discovery District, Janssen Inc., MaRS Innovation and the Government of Ontario, JLABS @ Toronto includes a number of hospital partners, including 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 Resident About the Company
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.

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