NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Johnson & Johnson Innovation today announced that it is expanding its global incubator presence through a novel collaboration with the Office of the Chief Scientist in Israel and other industry partners to establish a new biotechnology incubator near Israel’s Weizmann Science Park. This is the latest in a series of recently announced collaborations to fuel entrepreneurship in the world’s scientific hotspots. In addition, Johnson & Johnson Innovation announced several new collaborations with academia and biotech that focus on multiple disease areas and consumer healthcare challenges. These customized collaborations are part of Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s strategy to support an international network of scientific entrepreneurs through access to best-in-class laboratory facilities, scientific expertise, and funding.
The new research and development collaborations span Europe and the United States and include the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and seven biotechnology companies: California-based Assembly Pharmaceuticals, Nodality and SutroVax; London-based TopiVert; Maryland-based Intrexon; Massachusetts-based Scholar Rock; and Netherlands-based Bioceros.
“Addressing today’s unmet medical needs requires accessing the best science in the world and the best minds in the world working on it,” said Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson. “Johnson & Johnson Innovation is proud to be working with many partners to accelerate the pace of innovation on behalf of patients and consumers, and to unleash the creativity and entrepreneurship of scientists to solve today’s healthcare problems.”
Expanding Global Incubator Presence to Israel
An outcome of a novel collaboration among Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC), the Office of the Chief Scientist in Israel, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, and OrbiMed Israel Partners, is a public-private biotechnology incubator that will be located near the Weizmann Science Park, Rehovot, Israel. The Weizmann Science Park area is considered to be one of the foremost centers in the world for multidisciplinary research, and is the location of a Johnson & Johnson Innovation satellite office.
“A key aim of Johnson & Johnson Innovation is to find novel ways of advancing the most promising early-stage science,” said Patrick Verheyen, Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, London. “The formation of the new biotechnology incubator in Israel is the product of an important collaboration between government, industry, and venture capital that demonstrates a multi-partner approach in practice. The collaboration provides a unique platform to support and advance new companies with not only funding, but also strategic advice from both venture capital and industry pharmaceutical development experts.”
The new incubator, which will be operational in early 2014, is the latest in a series of recently announced collaborations with other biotechnology incubators to fuel entrepreneurship, including Montreal-based NEOMED; Toronto-based MaRS Innovation; San Francisco-based California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3); and Boston-based LabCentral. These announcements build upon the growing success of Janssen Labs, the 40,000 square foot flagship facility that opened in early 2012 in San Diego at Janssen’s West Coast Research Center.
New and Customized Early Stage Collaborations
The eight new early stage collaborations announced today represent recent deals closed by the Boston, California, and London innovation centers that are forging important research and development alliances across Johnson & Johnson’s three business areas: Consumer; Medical Devices & Diagnostics; and Pharmaceuticals.
“Through our customized deals and incubator strategy, we are collaborating with the world’s best innovators and academia to discover and develop the next generation of breakthrough medical solutions,” said Diego Miralles, Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, California and Global Head Innovation, Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Johnson & Johnson Innovation officially opened its innovation centers a little more than a year ago, establishing four regional hubs to identify scientific opportunities with the potential to advance the development of new healthcare solutions.
Today, there are three fully operational offices in Boston, London, and California, and a fourth location in Shanghai now houses a few scientific experts and will officially open this year.
“An exciting and common factor for many of the collaborations we announced today is how we are working together to leverage our collective and deep knowledge about specific biologic pathways and disease areas,” said Robert Urban, Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Boston. “This approach offers the potential to make strong research decisions that can ultimately support company and program success.”
New collaborations include:
Boston Innovation Center
- Translational Oncology Research Alliance with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – Janssen Biotech, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have established a translational oncology program with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to enable the personalization of immunotherapies for the treatment of various cancers. Researchers and clinicians will work in partnership to leverage shared scientific and clinical capabilities to decipher the immuno-oncology code, with the intent to enable durable clinical response, rational combination strategies, precision medicine approaches, and identification of new opportunities for therapeutic interventions.
- Skin and Hair Care Research & Development Collaboration with Intrexon Corporation – Johnson & Johnson Consumer & Personal Products Worldwide and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have established a research and development collaboration with synthetic biology company Intrexon Corporation to advance new skin and hair care products. Through the collaboration, technical experts at both companies will work together to explore, define, and test new potential products for consumers.
- Novel Biologics Collaboration with Scholar Rock, Inc. – Janssen Biotech, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have formed a collaboration with the biotechnology company Scholar Rock, Inc. to discover and develop novel biologics, called niche activators, to target TGF-beta 1 in the immune system microenvironment and offer a potential new therapeutic approach for autoimmune diseases and cancer immunotherapies. Immunologists from the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in Boston and Janssen Biotech will work with Scholar Rock to therapeutically target the TGF-beta 1 activation mechanism by applying Scholar Rock’s proprietary technology platform.
California Innovation Center
- Virology-Focused Investment in Assembly Pharmaceuticals – JJDC, in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation, has made an investment in Assembly Pharmaceuticals, a virology-focused biotech company with a discovery platform based on proprietary Core Protein Allosteric Modulators (CpAMs) for the treatment of viral infections, starting with Hepatitis B (HBV). CpAMs are being studied for their potential to become curative rather than suppressive therapies. Assembly is located at Janssen Labs @QB3 in San Francisco, Calif.
- Single Cell Network Profiling Collaboration with Nodality, Inc. – Janssen Biotech, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have formed a collaboration with the biotechnology company Nodality, Inc. to apply Nodality’s proprietary Single Cell Network Profiling (SCNP) technology to immunology R&D programs. The goal of the collaboration is to improve the development and probability of success of compounds for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease by further understanding the biologic function and activity at the single cell level.
- Vaccine New Company Creation Investment in SutroVax – Johnson & Johnson Innovation, through the JJDC, and Sutro Biopharma, a privately funded company, have co-funded a new company, SutroVax. SutroVax will leverage Sutro Biopharma’s Xpress CF™ cell-free biochemical protein synthesis platform to develop novel vaccines for a broad range of disease targets.
London Innovation Center
- Monoclonal Antibody Licensing agreement with Bioceros – Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have announced an agreement with Dutch biotechnology company Bioceros under which Bioceros, through its affiliated company BiocerOX Products B.V., has granted Janssen exclusive worldwide rights to develop a monoclonal antibody directed at an immune checkpoint modulator. The agreement reflects the growing interest in modulating a patient’s immune responses as a therapeutic approach with the potential to target a variety of tumors at all stages of disease.
- Topical Medicines Investment in TopiVert – JJDC, in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation has made an investment in TopiVert, a company focused on developing topical medicines for inflammatory diseases of the gut and eye based on NSKI (narrow spectrum kinase inhibitor) technology. JJDC and NeoMed Management join existing investors SV Life Sciences and Imperial Innovations Group PLC in this round of funding.
About Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Johnson & Johnson Innovation, LLC focuses on accelerating early-stage innovation worldwide and forming collaborations between entrepreneurs and Johnson & Johnson’s global healthcare businesses. Johnson & Johnson Innovation provides scientists, entrepreneurs and emerging companies one-stop access to science and technology experts who can facilitate collaborations across the pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics and consumer companies of Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson Innovation includes local deal-making capabilities with the flexibility to adapt deal structures to match early-stage opportunities and establish novel collaborations that speed development of innovations to solve unmet needs in patients. For more information please visit: www.jnjinnovation.com
About Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation
Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC) is the venture capital subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, with investment activity in the medical device, diagnostic, pharmaceutical, and consumer health areas. Our goal is to create opportunities that meet the strategic needs of our operating affiliates while providing visibility to innovative emerging technology, businesses and business models. JJDC measures the success of an investment’s performance not only in financial returns, but also in the viability of providing strategic growth opportunities for the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. JJDC is interested in opportunities that address significant unmet medical needs, have clear competitive advantages, IP protection, an executable clinical and commercialization plan, and are led by experienced management. JJDC invests in companies across the continuum from early stage seed investments to the advanced stages of series venture management. Our investment teams are based predominantly in Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s four regional centers in Boston, California, London, and Shanghai. For more information, please visit: http://jjdevcorp.com
About Janssen Biotech, Inc. and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
At Janssen, we are dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs of our time in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Driven by our commitment to patients, we develop innovative products, services and healthcare solutions to help people with serious diseases throughout the world. Beyond its innovative medicines, Janssen is at the forefront of developing education and public policy initiatives to ensure patients and their families, caregivers, advocates and healthcare professionals have access to the latest treatment information, support services and quality care.
Janssen Biotech, Inc. and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. are two of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Please visit www.janssen.com for more information.