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J&J and Bayer unveil new bioincubators

Major pharma companies look to improve collaboration with start-ups
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Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Bayer have both announced the creation of new bioclusters designed to forge ties with life sciences start-ups.

Germany's Bayer officially opened its CoLaborator facility yesterday, welcoming the first three tenants to the purpose-built site in Berlin, while J&J unveiled plans to build a 30,000-sq. ft. unit in San Francisco that will be able to accommodate up to 50 emerging companies.

Both efforts provide resources and expertise to independent start-up companies and give J&J and Bayer the opportunity to identify and partner promising new projects, a model which is gaining traction across the pharmaceutical industry.

Bayer said the CoLaborator facility is an "ideal environment in which to advance research and innovation", and will benefit from Berlin's position as a leading science location in Europe.

The first tenants to rent space at the CoLaborator are monoclonal antibody and biomarker firm Calico, green chemistry specialist DexLeChem and contract research and analytical tool company provitro. At full capacity the unit will be able to accommodate nine start-ups, providing access to laboratory and office space.

The CoLaborator is a "logical step in enhancing our partnership models in research", commented Bayer's head of global drug discovery Andreas Busch, adding that it is "an important element of our innovation strategy."

Meanwhile J&J's project - dubbed Janssen Labs @South San Francisco - is scheduled to open at the end of the year and is an extension of its established bioincubator in San Francisco called Janssen Labs@QB3, which opened in 2012.

The company also operates bioclusters in San Diego and Boston, and recently expanded its network to include two additional regional hubs in London and China as well as numerous regional offices designed to expand partnering opportunities to academic centres around the world.

"Our goal is to improve the investment profile of life science companies by drastically reducing the cost and time to market," said Janssen Labs head Melinda Richter.

"What started as an experiment has evolved into a proven, comprehensive model that is expanding," she added. Places in J&J's bioincubators have already yielded funding and licensing deals for the likes of Alector, Bell Biosystems and Araxes Pharma.

15th May 2014

From: Research

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