JLABS companies are hot on the move, raising capital, accelerating development and partnering with commercial organizations.
Increasingly our companies are also entering the public markets via IPO, entering into clinical trials and reaching commercial milestones making their solutions available to people all over the world.
At Johnson & Johnson Innovation, our goal is to bring forth highly differentiated healthcare solutions that extend and improve lives. To do this, we collaborate with innovators and entrepreneurs all over the world to advance the best science, wherever it exists.
All in on Artificial Intelligence
Every 65 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Yet the condition can start to make changes in the brain decades before our current, paper-based tests can detect it. According to Winterlight Labs, a JLABS @ Toronto resident company, they have the technology that can spot signs of cognitive decline much earlier and within minutes.
The company uses artificial intelligence to analyze speech and language patterns to help detect and monitor mental diseases. Early detection of Alzheimer’s could save $7.9 trillion in medical and care costs alone, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The potential for this technology to have an impact for care and costs prompted Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Research & Development to partner with Winterlight to progress the development of the technology.
Helping to foster cutting-edge technologies and high potential collaborations for health is why JLABS exists. As we grow into new markets with new innovation vehicles to support radical new ideas and technologies from every type of innovator, we’re excited about our collective potential to provide better, faster, more accessible and affordable options for care.
Up, out & beyond
Improving lives requires both solving complex scientific problems and convincing funders to take a leap of faith. BlackThorn Therapeutics, a JLABS @ South San Francisco alum that is discovering and developing targeted treatments for neurobehavioral disorders, has been knocking both of these out of the park.
In addition to raising $54 million in financing, in June of 2018, the company successfully enrolled its first healthy volunteer in a Phase 1 study targeting brain circuits that modulate the negative effects of stress on behavior. That important milestone required a significant investment, part of which came from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JJDC in 2016. Bill Martin, Chief Scientific Officer of BlackThorn, credits his journey with JLABS to bringing together all the elements necessary to progressing and funding BlackThorn’s science.
“It's hard to start companies for many reasons people don't appreciate,” Martin said. “Many trivial things end up distracting you from the science and funding, but if you're working with others in a non-competitive way,you can leverage insights, learnings, partners and services to become more focused on what matters. There's a great sense of collegiality so even if you’re a small team, you feel like you're a company of 50 or 100 people because you're part of a larger community.”
Seasoned for Success
Alector & Arcturus
Alector, an alumni of JLABS @ MBC, has been making headlines for its bold mission to “develop therapies that empower the immune system to cure neurodegeneration.” Whereas many in the industry have abandoned their work in the field of Alzheimer’s, a devastating disease that affects so many people around the world, Alector continues to double down on its mission to cure it – and has attracted interest across the industry. Alector announced a $1.2 billion partnership with a $225 million up-front payment in October 2017, and a $133 million private funding round in July of 2018. The company is now advancing three new medicines into human clinical trials and we couldn’t be more proud and more hopeful for our future. Arcturus Therapeutics, now a public company as of November 2017, is working on treatments and vaccines for some of the most deadly, debilitating diseases in the world, such as Hepatitis B, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, cystic fibrosis, and rare liver diseases. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen R&D organization has signed multiple collaborations with the company as well, with the first.
Arcturus Therapeutics, now a public company as of November 2017, is working on treatments and vaccines for some of the most deadly, debilitating diseases in the world, such as Hepatitis B, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, cystic fibrosis, and rare liver diseases. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen R&D organization has signed multiple collaborations with the company as well, with the first agreement originating when Arcturus was just two young guys with a dream and an idea. Co-founders Joe Payne and Pad Chivukula, are amazed at how far they’ve come in five years since they moved into JLABS in San Diego.
“JLABS, the expression of J&J's innovation initiative, has been a powerful force for good in the entrepreneur community, providing both a valuable resource as well as an innovation on-ramp to what can seem like a large and imposing global organization. Today, in large measure due to JLABS and the folks who are part of the J&J Innovation community, J&J has earned a reputation as a curious and exploratory organization keenly interested in connecting with front-line innovators and promising startups.”
- David A. Shaywitz, MD, PhD | Senior Partner, Takeda Ventures, Inc.
“Sometimes, I think JLABS can actually see the future! It’s clear that their vision, methodology and partnerships are clearly building that future today!”
- John Nosta | Digital Health Philosopher
“We literally quit our jobs, and started the company with just a few thousand dollars. But we also had a dream, and an ambition to do something great in the world of RNA medicines. Since then, we've grown the company, exceeded triple digit millions in valuation, and are trading on the NASDAQ. We are truly humbled to be a part of this exciting story.”
- Joe Payne | CEO of Arcturus