From left to right: Eileen Cruz, Sr. Administrative Assistant to VP of Government Affairs & Market Access, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. John Lacey, Communications and External Affairs Leader, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Thomas Luby, Senior Director, New Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation. Rebecca Yu, Director, Strategic HTA, Government Affairs & Market Access, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Melinda Richter, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS. Kuldeep Neote, Senior Director, New Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation. Bruce Rosengard, Chief Medical Science and Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies.

Earlier this month, we announced that JLABS @ Toronto would open in the spring of 2016. On October 29, 2015, Invest in Ontario had the privilege of attending a two-hour "Meet the J&J Innovation Team" session at the MaRS Auditorium on College Street.

One doesn't quite know what to expect when attending such an event. The list of participating representatives included two Senior Directors, a Head of Innovation and a Chief Medical Science and Technology Officer. Worry sets in—would this turn into an overly technical spectacle that has attendees fleeing for the exits?

Rebecca Yu poses with Melinda Richter at the event

Those fears are put to rest the moment Melinda Richter, Head, J&J Innovation, JLABS, takes the stage. She is vibrant and engaging as she captivates the standing-room only crowd of over 450 people.

She passionately describes the JLABS innovation mission—one in which it provides a capital‐efficient, resource‐rich environment where emerging companies can transform the scientific discoveries of today into the breakthrough healthcare products of tomorrow.

So instead of risking one's life savings and working out of a garage, entrepreneurs have flexible options to lease lab space with access to the world's finest equipment. JLABS also provides a business infrastructure that includes common areas, operations management and business services. They even offer a commercialization curriculum consisting of industry panels, educational workshops, funding forums and industry partnering support.

Melinda also gave a sneak peek into the facilities, in particular the 17,000 sq. ft. of common area space that includes an "Ice-Bar." There are also showers for those burning the midnight oil. The concept of the common area goes beyond mere relaxation, however; it is an environment strategically engineered to facilitate interaction and collaboration.

The entire J&J panel consisting of Dr. Kuldeep Neote, Senior Director, New Ventures, Dr. Thomas Luby, Senior Director, New Ventures, Melinda Richter, Head, JLABS, and Dr. Bruce R. Rosengard, Chief Medical Science and Technology Officer concluded the session by fielding a multitude of questions from a very enthusiastic audience.

In the end, JLABS certainly made a great first impression with this event. It's very apparent that these are some seriously smart people—yet approachable, passionate and fun. This is nothing but good news for the world of medical innovation and the patients it affects.

Making it clear that JLABS is in it for the long term, Melinda states, "We believe in Toronto. We've made a very big move to come here."

You had us at "Ice-Bar," Melinda. You had us at "Ice-Bar."

Read more about JLABS @ Toronto

Read more about JLABS Quick Fire Challenge for a chance to be awarded the use of a bench, workstation and access to the JLABS @ Toronto community for one year.

November 10, 2015

Feedback: Was this page useful?

Interested in doing business in Ontario?

Talk to a business consultant

Newsletter Sign Up


Form is for business purposes.

*All Fields Required




Sign up for our newsletter

Receive the latest news and updates from Invest in Ontario.


Sign up now

Back to top