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5 Years and Counting


What started out as a plan for a small reception to celebrate the JLABS Five-Year Anniversary quickly turned into something more. Something that created more conversations, more learning opportunities, and most importantly, more connections; CEO’s, Investors, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, and JLABS converging to connect on science, deals and innovation.

On October 19th Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS celebrated its five-year anniversary by hosting our first CEO Summit. This was a valuable experience for JLABS Company CEOs to meet with their mentors, investors and each other.

Setting the tone for the day, our leaders, Melinda Richter, Global Head of JLABS, and Robert Urban, Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, reminded us of the goal that we as a tight knit biotech community are trying to accomplish – to get solutions to patients faster.

How does an event like this reflect our mission? Well, as Chris Jordan, Director of Exercise Physiology at the Human Performance Institute said, by “bringing our best energy to maximize our job performance,” we can provide extra support and encouragement that healthcare innovators truly need.

The energy the JLABS team brought behind the scenes created much anticipation for an exciting event across the JLABS ecosystem. CEO of Stelvio, Attila Hajdu, mention that he and his team “are very fortunate to be part of this exciting and vibrant ecosystem that has the right people and resources needed to catalyze innovation.” Coordinating speakers, queuing slides, and trying to remember to eat, the JLABS team and Johnson & Johnson Innovation came together to maximize their energy and kept the day going.

Keynote speaker Daniel Kraft, Founder & Chair of Exponential Medicine, took the stage to discuss the future of healthcare. “We are coming to an era of a digital check up with the doctor.” This has got to make you think, how do we get there tomorrow? In the Fireside Chat, Global Head of Janssen Research & Development, Bill Hait said that “The advantage to a small biotech startup is the deep expertise.”

With five years under our belt, JLABS has formed a community full of deep expertise and mentorship. Curating and nurturing for such a community doesn’t happen in one year; it’s a constant learning experience. The Successful JLABS CEOs panel can attest to the experiences and challenges that both JLABS and the resident companies go through each day to achieve that success. In addition, networking with these companies has formed connections for Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School Natalie Artzi that she “[hopes] to build on.”

Where do we see the future of science going? The Futurist panel referenced the movie Blade Runner. It’s almost comical to think that a movie filmed in the 1980’s portraying 2017 would have biological robots. For better or for worse, the members from this panel don’t think we are too far off that theory. The most important thing is bringing together powerful and passionate minds with forward thinking in technology and medicine to make a positive change in healthcare.

I’ve only been with Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS for one year, but the community growth that I get to witness every day is something out of this world. Walking down the laboratory halls, you can feel the energy and passion these companies bring to the bench to make a difference in the world of medicine. JLABS is making a difference in the world of medicine one connection at a time.