J&J’s Boston “Deal-Making Machine” Backs Two Start-Ups
This article was originally published in The Pink Sheet Daily
The third of Johnson & Johnson’s four Innovation Centers, designed to give the behemoth company access and proximity to early-stage scientific innovation, opened June 27 in Boston. Concurrently, the company backed two VC-funded young start-ups , as well as a hospital alliance and a laboratory initiative.
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AC Immune of Switzerland will work with Janssen on a therapeutic Tau-targeted vaccine for Alzheimer’s that is in Phase Ib and which could be used in combination with beta-amyloid based approaches to maximize therapeutic responses to the disease. J&J also has licensed a pioneering microbiome drug from Vedanta.
The French firm has partners for its diagnostics, wants to spin out a "stool banking" company, and might follow other microbiome start-ups into drug discovery to explore the connections between our bugs and our immune system.
The year might have started off slow for start-up fundraising ($398.7 million in Q1), but during the second quarter of 2013 life science companies rallied and earned a whopping $907.2 million. There were several reverse licensing arrangements as well as alliances involving large molecule-focused start-ups.