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New York State of Innovation: A Year in the Life of JLABS @ NYC


One year ago today in the heart of SoHo, Johnson & Johnson Innovation in partnership with New York State and the New York Genome Center opened the doors to JLABS @ NYC. In the city of collective grit and eclectic smarts, JLABS @ NYC came to the Big Apple with big dreams aiming to jump start innovation with its no-strings attached model for life science company incubation.

In honor of the one-year anniversary of JLABS @ NYC, Kate Merton, Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS NYC - Boston – Philadelphia, reflects on the past year and shares her appreciation to the NYC innovation community, the residents welcomed to the JLABS @ NYC family, and the JLABS team.

Q: New homes mean new neighbors. How did JLABS @ NYC settle into its new neighborhood and find its niche in the existing NYC innovation ecosystem?

A: New York City is a city that opens its arms to newcomers. Just as NYC’s 9+ medical centers and institutions graciously welcomed the world’s largest healthcare company to town as a collaborator in innovation, it also accepted me into its healthcare community -- a woman from London who arrived in NYC with big dreams to ignite, inspire, and enable entrepreneurs’ discovery of the next great medical breakthroughs.

JLABS came to NYC with the intention to collaborate, reach out, and build relationships with the innovation community. In partnership with our NYC innovation ‘neighbors’, JLABS @ NYC is working to help elevate NYC as a leading healthcare innovation hotbed. Together, we have had the opportunity to champion some potentially ground-breaking science.

Q: JLABS @ NYC is near capacity with the number of residents it presently supports. Tell us about your current resident companies and what kind of potential  emerging science they are working on.

A: Over the course of the past year, JLABS @ NYC has welcomed 35 resident companies to our family. These residents are focused on R&D that spans the healthcare spectrum, including pharma (35%), consumer (11%), medical device (22%), and cross sector (8%) exploration. It’s truly been a privilege to work with visionaries from Certadose, Envisigenics, Nanowear, RedPin, Family Self Care, and Savor Health, among others, to further their discovery by helping them navigate the complexities faced in scientific research and in building a new company while simultaneously sharing in the joy of their progress.

Our residents have made great strides in the past year. One of the very favorite parts of my role at JLABS is when an entrepreneur rushes up to me in the morning with great news of a potential breakthrough, new discovery, or leap forward in understanding the science behind his or her work. It’s a privilege to be one of the first people they want to share their good news with.

Q: What has contributed to JLABS @ NYC’s success in this first year?

A: The JLABS team. I can’t speak highly enough of the people I have the privilege to collaborate with every day. It’s the small things they do that make the difference. The team hosted 42 JLABS programs and 9 investor events in the past year. Beyond hosting these events, this year we took pride in our nimble thinking, being prepared for any ask, and answering the phone at 11 p.m. when our innovators are in need of a thought partner. I can’t thank the team enough for their dedication to our residents and the larger mission of JLABS to help accelerate innovation for the benefit of patients and consumers.

Q: What’s next for JLABS @ NYC?

A: We are looking forward to our first set of entrepreneurs, in essence, ‘graduating’ and moving forward with their science. We have already seen a number of companies expanding their footprint with us as their companies develop. I am excited to continue to be an advocate for the entrepreneurs and to see the great things hopefully to come for each one of them.

In the coming years at JLABS @ NYC will be all about pushing the boundaries of what science we support in order to find the next potentially great breakthroughs. With the continued, rapid convergence of medical and technological advances, I’m particularly excited to see the evolution of the JLABS @ Health Tech program, and the new ways it could support entrepreneurs in the health tech space.

For more information about JLABS @ NYC, please visit: https://jlabs.jnjinnovation.com/locations/jlabs-nyc