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____ Monday September 14, 2015 ____

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Life Sciences

University of Toronto announces first JLABS life sciences incubator in Canada

Toronto – The University of Toronto has taken another step forward in city-building and fostering a growing community of entrepreneurs, with a collaboration announced last week that will see the Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s life sciences incubator, JLABS, expand for the first time to Canada.

Called JLABS @ Toronto, the incubator will occupy one of the University of Toronto’s four floors in the MaRS West Tower, and will house up to 50 life science startups. The initiative is supported by a $19.4 million contribution from the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund.

JLABS @ Toronto will be closely linked to the entrepreneurial activity coordinated through U of T’s Banting and Best Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (BBCIE), which in its first year supported 226 startup teams and helped incorporate 70 companies.

“Research and innovation are fundamental to the mission of the University of Toronto,” said President Meric Gertler. “We host a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem featuring nine campus-led accelerators under the umbrella of our Banting & Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The addition of JLABS to this ecosystem will further propel the creation of new companies and new jobs, and ultimately new healthcare solutions that will benefit individuals and our society for years to come.”

Supporting a hub for entrepreneurial activity within the life sciences is a natural next step for the University of Toronto, which, with its nine fully-affiliated hospitals, is renowned as a powerhouse of medical research.

The presence of JLABS creates an opportunity for U of T to move aggressively towards realizing the potential of its health sciences research centres, including the Centre for Collaborative Drug Discovery, the Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, and the Medicine by Design initiative.

It also offers a new resource to U of T students focused on research and discovery in the biomedical sciences, said Scott Mabury, vice-president of university operations. “JLABS will be part of our network of campus-led accelerators – including the Entrepreneurship Hatchery, the Impact Centre, the Creative Destruction Lab and the Health Innovation Hub – that helps students find the tailored support they need to create a company out of discovery-based research.”

JLABS @ Toronto will be open to companies across the healthcare spectrum, including biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostics, consumer and digital health companies.

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