skip to Main Content
Melinda Richter, head of J&J Innovation (JLABS) and the platform party congratulate representatives of all the companies entering JLABS @ Toronto’s first cohort.
TORONTO (May 11, 2016)  Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC, today announced the opening of JLABS @ Toronto, a new 40,000-square-foot life sciences incubator, providing entrepreneurs shared lab space and offices, modular lab suites and access to scientific, industry and capital funding experts as they work to build important and successful early-stage companies. The new JLABS facility can accommodate up to 50 start-ups and opens with 22 companies that represent a range of sectors including therapeutics, medical devices and consumer health solutions. This first group of resident startups includes the seven winners of the JLABS @ Toronto Quick Fire Challenge, which awards promising early-stage innovation companies with residency at the facility.

This announcement was covered in GEN, Betakit, FierceBiotechMarketingBioCentury, Techvibes, BioPharmaDive, Exchange, CantechmedGadget, Yonge Street Media, the Financial Post, and in the BIOTECanada Article on JLABS.

“The expansion of JLABS into Canada helps further Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s mission to discover and advance the best science in the world that has the most potential to help patients and consumers,” said Paul Stoffels, MD, Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson. “We are confident that JLABS @ Toronto will support a vibrant ecosystem of startups and entrepreneurs with access to the world-class expertise and technology within our global network.”

JLABS supports entrepreneurs by helping them overcome common barriers to discovery and development, such as the large initial investment of time and money that is necessary to establish working labs and other business infrastructures. JLABS @ Toronto builds on the successful JLABS model and is the sixth JLABS facility to open and the first outside of the United States.

JLABSOpening - 12
Premier Kathleen Wynne (centre) addresses the audience at the JLABS @ Toronto opening event as Minister of Research & Innovation Reza Moridi (far left), J&J Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Joaquin Duato (second from left) and J&J’s Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels (far right) look on.

Ontario is one of North America’s leading centres for life sciences research,” said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. “Our government’s partnership in the first JLABS in Canada will support an exciting new wave of startups, create good jobs and strengthen Ontario’s position as a hub of the knowledge-economy.”

JLABS @ Toronto is located at MaRS Discovery District and is a collaboration between Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC, theUniversity of Toronto, MaRS Discovery District, Janssen Inc., MaRS Innovation and the Government of Ontario, and includes the following hospital partners: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Hospital for Sick Children, Sinai Health System, St. Michael’sHospital, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and University Health Network.

“Our government’s partnership with JLABS @ Toronto builds on our efforts to move Ontario to the forefront of innovation, while creating a more diverse economic climate,” said the Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.

JLABS @ Toronto will feature a device and digital prototype lab that will provide entrepreneurs access to highly specialized tools, as well as skill-building programs to design and develop smart health technologies.

Resident companies at JLABS @ Toronto also have the opportunity to collaborate with IBM Canada to access its entrepreneurship programs and services, including IBM Watson cognitive business technology and IBM Bluemix cloud-based development platform.

“We are thrilled to be part of the flourishing life sciences community in Toronto and to contribute to Ontario’s vision to help drive the province toward becoming a world leader in innovation for health and wellness,” said Melinda Richter, Head of JLABS. “Canada’s startup scene is booming, and we look forward to working with the many enterprising innovators in the region that are working to turn science into tangible, commercial products.”

JLABS @ Toronto joins a network of JLABS sites throughout North America in life science clusters, including San Diego (flagship), San Francisco, South San Francisco, Boston and Houston. These facilities are currently home to more than 120 early-stage companies advancing bio/pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and digital health programs. The six JLABS facilities have a total capacity for 225 resident companies.

“The welcome addition of JLABS to Ontario’s extensive network of research partners, entrepreneurs and business leaders will help further augment our province’s booming life sciences sector,” said the Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation. “The collaboration between JLABS, MaRS Innovation and the University of Toronto will help support great advances in this growing sector and support highly skilled jobs in Ontario for years to come.”

The following companies are the first to be selected as residents of JLABS @ Toronto:

JLABS @ Toronto Resident

About the Company


Accelerating the discovery of new drugs through the creation of technologies designed for high-value data acquisition that mimic complex in vivo biology.

Abcombi Biosciences Inc.

Providing technology platforms that can be tailored and applied to any disease treatable via prophylactic vaccination.


A microbiomics platform company developing novel therapies and diagnostics targeting intestinal microbial dysbiosis in inflammatory bowel disease.

Cogniciti Inc.

Reducing the time and cost of volunteer recruitment for clinical trials through a science-validated online test for brain health.


Developing a cloud-based platform for genomics data analysis.

IGY Immune Technologies & Life Sciences

Designing and manufacturing technology and processes to strengthen and supplement the body’s natural immune system against broad and targeted bacterial, viral and autoimmune ailments.

Immune Biosolutions

Harnessing chicken antibodies to overcome challenges of anti-GPCR antibody generation and providing new antibody candidates for difficult druggable targets.

KalGene Pharmaceuticals

Developing a new therapeutic to bring back the memory of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Ketogen Pharma Inc.

Maximizing the therapeutic potential of the ketogenic diet to develop a new class of anti-epileptic medications.

Proteorex Therapeutics Inc.

Unlocking a treasure trove of new drug targets by targeting protein complexes in human diseases with a next generation small molecule platform technology.

Realist Pharma

Developing oncology-focused therapeutics that treat a wide range of cancers with its main programs being REAL-1 (a “next gen CAR-T” cell therapy) and REAL-2 (NCE cancer vaccines), both of which target >10 highly prevalent tumor markers.


Proprietary priming chemistries that make multiplexed PCR easy, effective and affordable.

SYNG Pharmaceuticals

Developing the first diagnostic blood test for endometriosis and an innovative non-hormonal therapy.

Translatum Medicus Inc. (TMi)

Dedicated to saving eyesight with a first-in-class immunomodulator therapy for patients with “dry” Age-Related Macular Degeneration.


An early-stage drug discovery company focusing on identifying and developing next generation cancer therapies.


A4i is a digital health innovation company that provides clinically proven mobile interventions to significantly enhance treatment engagement and quality of life for individuals with psychosis and other major mental health challenges.


An innovative gene therapy company focused on immune-oncology and rare diseases.

Chestnut Pharmaceuticals*

Developing novel therapeutics for metastatic cancers employing a comprehensive approach to reverse the metastatic state of tumor cells.

Nanovista Inc.*

Achieving high-precision personalized cancer therapy with multimodal nano imaging agents: lead application in image-guided surgery.


Creators of a seizure tracking tool that uses devices patients already own and wear. 


Regular molds have one shape; PinPress is a shape-shifting tool that gives you a thousand molds in one.


Helping people enjoy the sun with a smart indicator of ultraviolet light that changes colour to warn people of their sun exposure.

*Designates Quick Fire Challenge winners

“We’re excited to have JLABS @ Toronto join the University of Toronto as the newest addition to our vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said Meric Gertler, President of the University of Toronto. “Together with our nine campus-led accelerators, under the umbrella of our Banting & Best Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, we’re fueling the creation of new companies, new jobs and solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The arrival of JLABS @ Toronto will further cement our leadership position in North America.”

“JLABS Toronto’s arrival reflects the growing international prominence of Ontario’s life sciences sector,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation. “Early-stage companies need support from investors and industry partners at various stages of their development, but particularly in the run-up to clinical studies. Having access to JLABS and its network is a significant benefit, and we’re pleased that two companies connected to MaRS Innovation’s portfolio are moving into JLABS. We trust they will be the first of many.”

All JLABS locations are accepting applications from biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and digital health companies. To apply, visit

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation
johnson-and-johnson-innovation-logoJohnson & Johnson Innovation LLC focuses on accelerating all stages of innovation worldwide and forming collaborations between entrepreneurs and Johnson & Johnson’s global healthcare businesses. Johnson & Johnson Innovation provides scientists, entrepreneurs and emerging companies with one-stop access to science and technology experts who can facilitate collaborations across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer companies of Johnson & Johnson. Under the Johnson & Johnson Innovation umbrella of businesses, we connect with innovators through our regional Innovation Centers, JLABS, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. and our Business Development teams to create customized deals and novel collaborations that speed development of innovations to solve unmet needs in patients. For more information please visit:

About the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies
janssenAt the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, we are working to create a world without disease. Transforming lives by finding new and better ways to prevent, intercept, treat and cure disease inspires us. We bring together the best minds and pursue the most promising science. We are Janssen. We collaborate with the world for the health of everyone in it. Learn more at Follow us at @JanssenCanada.

Back To Top