Media Releases

University of Toronto announces first JLABS life sciences incubator in Canada

September 8, 2015

TORONTO, ON – The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to has tak­en anoth­er step for­ward in city-build­ing and fos­ter­ing a grow­ing com­mu­ni­ty of entre­pre­neurs, with a  col­lab­o­ra­tion announced today 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.


For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact:

Althea Black­burn-Evans Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Tel: 416–978-2105

About The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to

As Canada’s top ranked uni­ver­si­ty, with three cam­pus­es in the Greater Toron­to Area and full affil­i­a­tions with nine teach­ing and research hos­pi­tals, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is a research and inno­va­tion pow­er­house with a focus on city-build­ing and a grow­ing entre­pre­neur­ship ecosys­tem.  Attract­ing $1.3B in exter­nal research fund­ing annu­al­ly, U of T has pro­duced more star­tups than any oth­er uni­ver­si­ty in Cana­da, and is home to an inter­con­nect­ed set of entre­pre­neur­ship sup­ports, includ­ing accel­er­a­tors, pro­grams, cours­es and co-cur­ric­u­lar orga­ni­za­tions. Coor­di­nat­ed by the Bant­i­ng & Best Cen­tre for Inno­va­tion & Entre­pre­neur­ship (BBCIE), the university’s nine accel­er­a­tors pro­vide a range of resources for entre­pre­neur­ial stu­dents, fac­ul­ty and recent grad­u­ates. The goals of the BBCIE are twofold: to help trans­form U of T research into prod­ucts and ser­vices, and to allow its 85,000 stu­dents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore entre­pre­neur­ship as part of their uni­ver­si­ty expe­ri­ence.

The cam­pus-led accel­er­a­tors are par­tial­ly fund­ed by the provin­cial gov­ern­ment through the Youth Jobs Strat­e­gy, man­aged by the Ontario Cen­tres of Excel­lence.

We will include a link to the con­sor­tium release on CNW, which will serve to pro­vide the fur­ther detail about the ini­tia­tive, part­ner quotes, etc.