Our newest Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS location, JLABS @ Washington, DC, continues to move closer to opening later this year. We recently caught up with Sally Allain, Regional Head of JLABS @ Washington, DC to get the latest updates on construction, how the team has adjusted in response to COVID measures, and what we can expect for the remainder of 2020.
How is construction at JLABS @ Washington, DC moving along and when is the site anticipated to open?
Construction is on schedule and I was excited to see the progress at the site when I was there recently to help deliver lunch to the construction workers. We anticipate taking occupancy of the building late this year and aim to onboard companies in early 2021.
What do you hope to see when you walk on the campus a year from now?
I imagine a site buzzing with entrepreneurs accessing all of what Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS has to offer, including big company benefits for start-ups. Our portfolio of companies will have state-of-the-art labs and office space so they can dedicate their capital to their research, no strings attached. They’ll also have access to J&J’s global experts (our JPALS), educational webinar and in-person programming, our Resource Hub, our Investor Hub powered by J&J’s capital investment group (JJDC), and more. Additionally, I’m excited for our JLABS @ Washington, DC to be centrally located within a R&D building housing Children’s National Research Institutes and academic investigators from Virginia Tech. The cross-partnering and collaboration opportunities will be an incredible opportunity for everyone.
What kinds of companies are you and the team scouting for JLABS @ Washington, DC?
We want to identify the best science and technology companies, and at Johnson & Johnson Innovation we know a good idea can come from anywhere. We are looking to identify healthcare companies working on potential solutions for patients and consumers in any of our three Johnson & Johnson sectors: Pharmaceuticals, Medical Device, and Consumer Products, as well as vision care, digital technology, and data science platforms. In working with Children’s National Hospital, we recognize our youngest of patients have been underserved by innovation and are looking to identify companies bringing forward science and technology advances in pediatrics.
Additionally, and uniquely at our JLABS @ Washington, DC site, through a partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, we will have a specialized innovation zone providing residency for companies and entrepreneurs focused on solutions with the potential to improve our nation’s response, capacity and capabilities to address 21st century health security threats.
What is JLABS @ Washington, DC doing to stay connected to the larger BioHealth Capital Region during this time?
Like most of our partners, we’ve continued to stay engaged and connect online as much as possible. We want to ensure we’re accessible and continuing to meet with key stakeholders, partners, and entrepreneurs across the region. All of our programming has gone online and it’s exciting to see that anyone could access our Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS global programs. You can find the full list of upcoming webinars here, including our upcoming webinar “Advancing Pediatric Research in the COVID-19 Era” with Children’s National Hospital on the importance of pediatric researching during COVID-19 coming up on July 1.
What are you and your team focusing on for the remainder of the year?
We’ll be focused on continuous engagement across the DMV ecosystem and planning for a few roadshows through Maryland and Virginia later this year as the states and regions start to open. We have also started to receive and review companies of interest for the site, as we plan to move-in companies as soon as possible in early 2021. So, I encourage any entrepreneurs and start-ups to not wait in applying as we have a rolling application process and review. You can access our simple, non-confidential online application process here.