J&J to create new Texas center to develop ‘breakthrough’ med tech

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is pulling out all the stops in its efforts to turn around its medical devices business. After a restructuring early this year, the J&J medical device business actually grew--albeit only by 0.7%--to $6.2 billion last quarter.

The pharma's arm that invests in new technology, Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJI), is doing its bit to try to help encourage the success of those efforts in the long term. It’s creating the new Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center (TMC) in Houston, which is intended to enable the entire process of creating “breakthrough” medical devices, the company said.

The pair are building on an existing collaboration with the opening JLABS at TMC earlier this year.

"By creating a nexus for innovation, where scientists and engineers of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies can collaborate with academicians, expert clinicians, and external entrepreneurs to leverage the unique size, scope, and capabilities of TMC's member institutions, we are confident that we can dramatically enhance health care around the world," said J&J CSO Dr. Paul Stoffels in a statement.

The new center will include a maker space for internal projects, as well as for J&J partner companies. It’s intended to enable rapid prototyping for early and midstage product development. The center will also have access to the preclinical facilities at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute, and the Texas Heart Institute (THI).

Cardiac surgeon and medical device entrepreneur Dr. William Cohn, who recently joined J&J from Baylor and THI, will run the new center. He was previously the director of THI's Center for Technology and Innovation and the Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratory.

Among TMC member institutions, JJI will work with Baylor to commercialize medical devices in an open innovation model. With the virtual hospital at the Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation, and Education, JJI plans to work to introduce novel devices into clinical practice. And at THI, JJI plans to help make more options commercially available to patients.