J&J has been moving quickly the past few months on a new initiative to help biotech startups get up and running…
“Johnson & Johnson’s West Coast research leader, Diego Miralles, has met with a lot of biotech entrepreneurs who are curious about what J&J is doing to foster more startups at its facility in San Diego. At some point, a skeptical question usually comes up.
“What’s the catch?” Miralles says he’s sometimes asked.
He insists there isn’t any catch.
“We are genuinely trying to help the industry,” Miralles said last week in a meeting at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. “We think helping the biotech industry helps us. We strongly believe that a rising tide lifts all ships.”
J&J (NYSE: JNJ), which is based in New Brunswick, NJ, has been moving quickly the past few months on a new initiative to help biotech startups get up and running, through its new 30,000 square foot Janssen Labs startup space on the Torrey Pines Mesa. As Bruce first reported here in October, the idea is to create a space at J&J’s facility where 18-20 fledgling companies can get modern lab space, supplies, professional facilities management, and equipment that is supposed to free up the entrepreneurs to focus more on their science…”
NYC plays catch-up to create centers, attract venture capital.
From Crain’s NY Business:
“In recent years, the Bloomberg administration and its partners in academia and business have worked to overcome barriers to commercial biotech, from lack of space to lack of funding. The focus is now turning to what some consider the most difficult obstacle: a scarcity of entrepreneurial instinct in a medical-science community that widely thinks “going commercial” means to succumb to the dark side. From networking and pitching events to mentoring, advocates are trying to build the kind of startup ecosystem that has helped make the city’s Internet industry the fastest growing in the country.
“Innovation is a mindset; it’s a culture,” said Jonathan Lewis, a former Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center surgeon, and founder and CEO of Manhattan-based cancer-drug developer Ziopharm Oncology Inc. “It’s been applied to high-tech, and now it has to be applied to biotech.”
It remains to be seen whether such efforts can replicate here what developed organically in biotech hot spots like Boston and San Francisco. Venture capitalists expect that it will take years, along with a string of successful companies and a coterie of seasoned biotech entrepreneurs who can invest in and mentor the next generation of startups…”
Incubators run by universities and economic development groups have long provided the facilities, expertise and even funding to help biotechs bridge the valley of death. But incubators run by drug companies have garnered mixed results.
From Seeking Alpha:
“Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) [has announced] the launch of Janssen Labs at San Diego, a 30,000-square-foot incubator designed to serve as the future home for 18 to 20 biotech start-ups.
Companies in the J&J incubator will get access to their own space, as well as common areas that house equipment for nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry, flow cytometry and other analyses. In exchange for short, renewable leases, they will get “cost-efficient, flexible, turnkey wet labs…”
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What’s needed now are the creative partnerships, where someone knowledgeable about the whole process steps in and finds a way to more seamlessly bring together these two factions around what they have in common.
“These are hard times at universities in America. State support is dwindling, tuition is booming, and federal research dollars are in jeopardy. Morale has taken a beating.
But U.S. academic research centers are still the driving force for innovative new medicines, like always. And anyone who cares about U.S. universities should pay attention to what’s happening at UC San Francisco under the leadership of chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann.
Desmond-Hellmann, a biotech industry star from her days running drug development at Genentech, has her work cut out in her third year as UCSF’s chancellor. Like any executive arriving on campus, she’s had to learn a lot in a hurry. UCSF is a complex, 23,000-employee enterprise that does everything from studying the basic functions of stem cells to helping discover new drugs to treating patients. Starting in August 2009, she’s had the unpleasant job of overseeing furloughs, layoffs, and multi-million-dollar budget cuts. She’s said no, repeatedly, to promising new scientific initiatives…”
The pharmaceutical industry is seeking stronger ties with academia in a bid to speed up drug development
“When pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced on 8 June that it is teaming up with eight research institutions in the Boston area to hunt for candidate drugs, the news was cheered from all sides. The governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, praised the US$100-million, five-year deal for the jobs it would bring to the region. Eric Buehrens, interim chief executive of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, one of the academic partners, extolled the benefits to scientific research. Pfizer says that the partnerships will accelerate development of the next generation of drugs…”
A new network of UK tech transfer centers based on industry segment hubs has been proposed and given the green light by government officials.
The proposed network of elite national technology and innovation centers (TICs) is “aimed at bridging the gap between academic research and technology commercialization by providing what is described as ‘translational infrastructure.’”
The network of TICs, based on recommendations from Cambridge venture capitalist, Dr Hermann Hauser, is summarized in his report, “The Current and Future Role of Technology and Innovation Centers in the UK” [Businessweekly; more]
“The University of Minnesota will present many of its developed technologies to the public Thursday in a showcase at the University Enterprise Laboratories facility in St. Paul.
The Office of Technology Commercialization will hold the Life Sciences Showcase, which is a first for the OTC and will feature about 12 technologies developed by researchers in the life science field.
The showcase, which begins at 7:30 a.m., intends to inform the public not only about startup technologies at the University but also technology it plans to license to larger companies already involved in the industry of life sciences, said Doug Johnson, director of the Venture Center at the OTC. [more]