Biocartis grabs lab space, staff from Johnson & Johnson to fuel U.S. expansion

Biocartis has struck a deal with Johnson & Johnson to expand its presence in the U.S. J&J’s Janssen is transferring a respiratory assay panel and some of the staff who worked on it to Biocartis, while also making space available for the company at its site in Raritan, New Jersey.

Mechelen, Belgium-based Biocartis put together the deal to expand its presence in the U.S. The leased laboratory and office space in Raritan will serve as Biocartis’ U.S. R&D center. As part of the deal, Biocartis is taking on around 10 full-time members of the Janssen team that developed assays for its Idylla multiplex polymerase chain reaction diagnostic platform. And it is taking ownership of the viral respiratory infection assay they developed for Idylla.

Biocartis thinks taking on a readymade team will ensure its U.S. operation starts with a bang, while also setting it up to meet its long-term goals for the stateside R&D center.

“This will allow all team members, as of day one, to add value on ongoing projects,” Biocartis CEO Herman Verrelst said in a statement. “Another important advantage is that we now have access to a U.S. pool of R&D talent that we can also tap into for future recruitment needs in light of the business growth that we aim to realize.”

Biocartis plans to use its North American beachhead to work more closely with its partners on the continent. Amgen is among the U.S.-based drugmakers to sign up to work with Biocartis on companion diagnostics.