Ontario Government, University of Toronto and MaRS secure JLABS incubator

JLABS @ Toronto will be a 40,000ft2 facility for up to 50 start-ups focused on biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and digital health programmes

The Ontario Government, University of Toronto, and MaRS Discovery District (MaRS) have announced a collaboration with Janssen to launch the successful Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS incubator model in Toronto.

The new facility, called JLABS @ Toronto, will open in spring 2016 at MaRS Discovery District and will support start-ups with lab space, programmes and potential investment partners as they work to build important, successful early stage companies.

‘The arrival of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS model to MaRS’ West Tower reinforces Ontario’s position as one of the world’s leading life sciences clusters,’ said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. ‘JLABS @ Toronto will support researchers and entrepreneurs across the province and accelerate the development of Ontario companies while connecting Toronto to potential Johnson & Johnson collaborators and investors.’

‘Toronto is home to a vibrant and prolific healthcare and life sciences community led by academic hospitals, world-class research institutions, top scientists and a strong start-up ecosystem. For these reasons, Toronto is a natural choice for our first international expansion of JLABS,’ said Melinda Richter, Head of JLABS.

As the first JLABS to open outside the US, JLABS @ Toronto joins a network of life science facilities that are based throughout the US in San Diego (flagship), San Francisco, South San Francisco, Boston and Houston. These facilities are home to more than 100 early stage companies advancing bio/pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and digital health programmes.

JLABS @ Toronto will provide start-ups with many of the advantages of being part of an established innovation centre - such as access to talent and mentors, large existing firms and research universities, capital and convergence opportunities with other sectors. When complete, the facility will include cutting-edge, modular and scalable lab space and equipment, with access to scientific, industry and capital funding experts.

‘The arrival of JLABS deepens the resources available to the health and life science community at MaRS and will catalyse the addition of new industry players,’ said Dr Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District. ‘It further speaks to the critical mass of health and life science commercialisation opportunities emerging across the region and underscores the key role MaRS plays in advancing the transformative technologies of Ontario’s researchers and entrepreneurs.’

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