Center will allow startups to license space and access core research labs.

Janssen Research & Development opened Janssen Labs, a 30,000-square-foot life science innovation center in San Diego located within the company’s Janssen West Coast Research Center. The facility will provide a capital-efficient, flexible lab environment for startup companies pursuing new technologies and research platforms, according to Janssen.

The following companies are the first to be selected to become residents of Janssen Labs: Diomics, which focuses on diagnostics, forensics, and DNA analysis; Neurolixis, which is working on small molecule drugs for CNS diseases; Tem Systems, which develops diagnostics to measure coagulation profile; and Yolia Health, an optometry device firm.

“A thriving biotech ecosystem is crucial for the success of the pharmaceutical industry as a whole,” notes Diego Miralles, M.D., site head for the West Coast Research Center. “Recent challenges in the economic environment have made it difficult for many emerging biotech companies. We believe that supporting and nurturing these companies will be good for the entire industry. By providing a flexible and cost-efficient way to test new ideas, Janssen Labs provides early-stage companies a way to overcome the typical hurdles faced by start-up companies, which are even greater in the current economic climate.”

The Janssen Labs will enable firms to license space and equipment like modular wet lab units on a short-term renewable basis. Companies would pay for the space they need and have an option to expand when they have the resources to do so. The firms will also have access to core research labs hosting specialized capital equipment and core administrative areas maintained by Janssen Labs operations management team.

“This arrangement allows the companies to focus on the development of the science instead of setting up and managing the labs,” said Miralles. “We believe this open innovation model will minimize cost and time and is an effective way for companies to develop and focus on research.”

Because Janssen Labs is an open innovation model, the agreement for the space does not grant Janssen any stake in the companies nor will the companies have a guaranteed future affiliation with Janssen. If either Janssen or a residing company is interested in furthering the business relationship, the process would be the same as for any external partnership or collaboration.

To date, the management team of Janssen Labs has received and reviewed more than 100 applications. Companies are evaluated based on criteria such as compelling science and/or technology, area of significant medical or market need, credible science/technology team, demonstrated financial solvency, etc. The applying companies represent diverse sectors across healthcare including biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, instrumentation, and diagnostics. The facility can accommodate a maximum of 18 to 20 companies, and the application and assessment process will continue throughout 2012.

“We are pleased by the overwhelmingly positive response since we announced our plans to open Janssen Labs at San Diego a few months ago,” says Miralles. “Across sectors, stages, and geographies, entrepreneurs and startup companies are interested in this ‘no-strings-attached’ capital-efficient model to progress their scientific work. Our goal with Janssen Labs is to give novel technologies a greater opportunity to reach the patient by reducing some of the hurdles of early-stage discovery.”

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