J&J sets up biotech incubator on Janssen campus, commits VC funding

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is setting up a biotech incubator in Beerse, Belgium, with a particular focus on microbiome research. The incubator, which is reminiscent of the JLABS sites run by J&J in North America, will provide startups with access to laboratory space, R&D support and VC funding.

Paul Stoffels, J&J chief scientific officer

J&J is committing VC funds to the incubator, dubbed JLINX, through Johnson & Johnson Innovation, while also seeking cash from external investors. The money, which companies can take without tying themselves or the rights of their products to J&J, is one of several ways in which JLINX is trying to lure startups to Beerse. Companies that are accepted into the incubator will have access to expertise and infrastructure, too.   

The expertise and infrastructure will come from the Beerse campus of J&J's Janssen subsidiary, where the dedicated facility housing the incubator will be based, and from the company's broader network. As with some of its other initiatives, J&J is trying to use its resources to foster the growth of a collaborative network of startups.

"We are confident that JLINX will create a vibrant ecosystem of startups and entrepreneurs with access to the world-class expertise and technology … within our global network," J&J CSO Paul Stoffels said in a statement. "This new initiative has been designed to foster the creative startup culture in Europe that can accelerate breakthroughs."

J&J is already accepting applications to join the incubator, which is expected to open its doors in the summer. The incubator is open to all companies that are working to improve human health, but J&J is particularly keen to attract microbiome startups. Bioqube Ventures is providing independent oversight of company selection and allocation of VC funding, as well as building a team to handle the day-to-day running of JLINX.

- read the statement