LEO opens early collab hub in Boston with a little royal help

Dermatology pharma LEO has gained the seal of approval for its newly opened Science & Tech Hub in Boston by Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

The Danish company has opened, like so many before it, in what many in the biz regard as the center of life sciences research: Kendall Square.

LEO hopes some of its magic might rub off, saying in a statement that placing itself at the site “brings together members of the Boston life science community to explore opportunities for partnership and innovation.”

LEO is specifically looking to build up early-stage collabs in both the realms of science as well as tech to help with its core R&D purpose--the treatment of skin diseases. The pharma added that it is “the first of its kind to focus on dermatology in the Greater Boston area.”

Drilling down into the details of the move, the new Hub will put out the feelers for partners in three areas: cognitive computer learning, imaging, and biomarkers in dermatology.

Deals could be struck with academic centers, entrepreneurs and companies across the U.S., with LEO saying it can also help support new partners in “validating novel targets” in skin diseases and “advancing technology towards commercialization.”

The Hub team has access to “full deal-making capabilities,” according to the pharma--but while exact dollar limits were not made public, it said it would help “support in terms of seed investments and co-development.”

Those who team up with the company will also gain access to LEO’s preclinical and clinical experience, as well as the experience of its digital healthcare work coming out of its so-called Innovation Lab.

“The overall aim is to enable patients and doctors to monitor, diagnose, and treat skin diseases in a more effective and less invasive way,” LEO said.

Back in January, LEO announced the creation of the Innovation Lab, picking Toronto, Canada, as the location of what is essentially its digital research hub--coughing up an initial $70 million for the project.

In a similar setup to its Boston hub, its digital research hub also helps finance external startups working in the field with investment and grant money from its VC fund.

In July, LEO also announced a $1 billion (€900 million) deal to buy the global rights to AstraZeneca’s ($AZN) atopic dermatitis drug tralokinumab in dermatology indications, as it looks to build up its skin disorder pipeline and portfolio.