J&J Creates Space at Janssen Labs for Life Sciences Entrepreneurs

2/5/13

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pay the rent. “We don’t necessarily finance it,” he says. “The market has to balance it too.”

To make it easier on the entrepreneurs and companies, Miralles says the Janssen Labs contracts can be cancelled with 60 days notice.

The business accelerator program made a lot of financial sense to Linnaeus co-founder Joe Pogliano. He says the Janssen Labs incubator has removed the risks he faced last year in launching his UC San Diego spinoff, which is developing a new method for identifying and characterizing antibiotics.

Mitchell Mutz, the founder and chief scientific officer of another Janssen Labs tenant, Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, says the minimal capital outlay was particularly crucial for their company, a developer of small molecule drugs that began raising funds as the market tightened in 2007. Amplyx initially relied on angel investors who made their investments in installments, rather than an upfront amount. Mutz says the money they saved by moving into the lab also enabled them to hire Dinu Sen, an experienced CEO.

Apart from the deluxe facilities and internal networking, Janssen Labs tenants also could benefit in less tangible ways. For example, the operations team organizes regular visits by investors, foundations, and larger companies. This week they plan to host representatives from the Wellcome Trust, the biomedical research charity based in London.

“It’s really wide open and that’s part of the novelty,” Miralles says.

He says many people find it hard to believe that Janssen Labs truly has no strings attached, but the doors are open to everyone. “These companies are really having relationships with everybody, including the companies that could be perceived as our competitors at big pharma.”

Miralles says a successful outcome for their part, occurs when companies expand or graduate from the facility. In fact, one of the four startups initially admitted into the lab graduated within the first year.

J&J’s costs may be significant, but the company has been positioning itself in the local industry “the goal is to be the center of San Diego biotech,” Miralles states.

So has the Johnson & Johnson experiment in San Diego been successful enough to reprise on the East Coast?

“Given the great success we have had, of course we are considering expansion, not only within the building but expansion to other geographic areas as well,” Miralles says.

Janssen Labs says the following life sciences startups have been admitted to its business accelerator program in San Diego. (Three companies in the program were not identified.)

Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, San Diego: Small molecule therapeutic drug development.

CEO: Dinu Sen

ClinMet, Redwood City, CA: Uses proprietary metabolomic technology to improve the speed and … Next Page »

Juliet Preston is a San Diego science writer. Follow @

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