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Jul 22, 2013
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Getting up to speed

Trio of deals provides early look at progress of J&J innovation centers

A trio of early stage deals unveiled with Johnson & Johnson's Boston Innovation Center demonstrate the pharma's new approach for sourcing external innovation quickly with a broad deal-making tool kit.

Late last month, the pharma announced the official opening of the center along with its first three deals: a partnership with and equity investment in microbiome company Vedanta Biosciences Inc., a seed investment in epigenetics play Rodin Therapeutics Inc. and an academic research alliance.

J&J closed the three deals in about seven months.

The Boston center is the third of four regional centers J&J is establishing to make early stage deals and investments across its pharma, medical devices and consumer businesses. The first opened in London in March and announced its inaugural deal last week: an option to acquire a newly created single-asset subsidiary of antibody company Affimed Therapeutics AG.A California center debuted in June, and a Shanghai center is to open by year end.

The centers are part of an initiative announced last September to significantly increase the number of early stage deals J&J does, as well as the speed and flexibility with which it does them (see BioCentury, Sept. 24, 2012).

Each center is bringing under one roof the necessary resources to close deals, including business development, IP and legal personnel, and scientists to advise on the technical front. Additionally, J&J Development Corp. (JJDC) - the pharma's venture arm since 1973 - has located its personnel at the centers.

Each center is expected to have 15-25 people....

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