Despite the challenges the pandemic created last year, 2021 will offer JLABS @ Washington, DC an exciting year as we open our doors on the new Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus, onboard the first group of companies, and engage in many other opportunities as we work to enhance innovation in the region and help bring potential solutions to patients.
As you read this, construction is completing, lab equipment is getting plugged in, and the furniture is being delivered in anticipation of our doors opening this spring. We’re excited to move in residents representing a wide spectrum of science and technology; from early-stage infectious disease, immuno-oncology, and medical device companies to start-ups tackling health inequities and disparities.
At HLTH 2020 last fall, we shared a first snapshot of a few of our new residents, as we announced the awardees of our JLABS @ Washington, DC Children’s QuickFire Challenge, recognizing four companies. This challenge brought light to the need for more research and innovation for those working on pediatric solutions for patients.
Stay tuned, as we are also close to announcing our first residents of the hub for BLUE KNIGHTTM at JLABS @ Washington, DC, a place for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies working on science and technology aimed to improve health security and response to emerging infectious diseases and health threats through our joint initiative with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Companies selected for Blue Knight may have access to unique benefits, including fee assistance, dedicated mentorship from BARDA, and access to dedicated equipment.
Across our region, we are working to bring in companies at the intersection of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies’ business strategies and the unique strengths of the DMV ecosystem. When I look at the strengths across the DMV ecosystem, reflected in startups and early-stage companies, the region leads in infectious disease, oncology, and cell & gene therapy, as well as in medical device innovation. Watching the regional biomanufacturing capabilities rapidly respond to the pandemic needs last year, I expect the region will continue to grow, enhancing the existing top talent pool, as well as an increasing the number of companies working on early and disruptive platform technologies for vaccines and manufacturing.
I also see JLABS @ Washington, DC as an opportunistic Johnson & Johnson Innovation landing place for both international companies looking to launch or expand into the US, as well as companies in the US who should consider our strategic location – near federal agencies, headquarters for patient advocacy groups, and more – a large benefit for their business growth.
Lastly, in the year ahead, our commitment to diversity and health equity is a business imperative. We have already started to engage with entrepreneurs and early-stage companies working in this space, whether they’re focused on enhancing platforms to engage with a more diverse patient or consumer group or working towards the democratization of clinical trials. I am eager for us to further our collaborations in these areas to support the development of these important solutions.
And don’t forget to join us on March 11 as we celebrate International Women’s History Month with our Closing the Gap in Access to Equity panel!