Welcome to JLABS

Empowering and enabling science to reach the people who need it

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About us

Our vision is to provide a capital efficient and flexible platform where emerging companies can transform the scientific discoveries of today into the breakthrough healthcare products of tomorrow. To accelerate scientific discovery, business, financial and operational obstacles need to be removed so that companies can do what they do best, focus on the science and bringing innovative solutions to patients.

Team Members

  • Sahar Ali
    Office Leader JLABS @ TMC
  • Kara Bortone
    Head of Company Sourcing - San Diego
  • Chelsea Hewitt
    Global Innovation Activation Leader
  • Madelaine Holden
    Innovation Activation Specialist - San Diego
  • Juliane Humphries
    Operations Manager JLABS @ TMC
  • Alan Koder
    Director of Operations - San Diego
  • Christopher Lalli
    Communications
  • Stephanie Lehman
    Administrative Coordinator
  • Samantha Lifson
    Innovation Activation Specialist - Boston
  • Christina Lonergan
    Operations Manager - San Diego
  • Minh Miran
    Global Business Operations Sr. Manager
  • Vanessa Ramirez
    Office Leader - South San Francisco
  • Melinda Richter
    Head of JLABS, Johnson & Johnson Innovation
  • Neema Saless
    Operations Manager - Bay Area
  • Lesley Stolz
    Head of JLABS California
  • Jamie Thorpe
    Office Leader - San Diego
  • James Viola
    Innovation Activation Specialist - San Diego
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    Sahar Ali

    Office Leader JLABS @ TMC

    Sahar Ali grew up in Houston, TX. She is fascinated by the minute details of life forms, and therefore, obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Sam Houston State University. After temperamental bacteria and chemical bonds drove her crazy, she decided to minor in criminal justice where she had the chance of visiting a state prison.

    Professionally, she has over six years of customer service experience in the healthcare industry. She has met and enjoyed working with people from all walks of life from crying toddlers to the screaming elderly, and not to forget the eccentric physicians. She had the opportunity to work face to face with patients as a physical therapy assistant, as well as work behind the scenes with billing, insurance companies, and various other departments.

    One of her accomplishments was to serve on a team of super users to implement a new software system for an entire clinic of 40 physician offices.

    During her free time, she likes to read, do yoga, attend local art festivals, and try different cuisines.

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    Kara Bortone,
    PhD

    Head of Company Sourcing - San Diego

    As Head of Company Sourcing for JLABS, Kara leads the company recruitment and selection process for JLABS including JLABS San Diego, JLABS@QB3 in San Francisco and JLABS@LabCentral in Cambridge/Boston. In this role, Kara is actively building a pipeline of prospects and driving licensee companies through diligence, selection, and joining JLABS. Kara coordinates with the J&J Innovation Centers and J&J Development Corporation to build opportunities and grow relationships between JLABS companies and potential strategic partners.

    Kara joins Janssen R&D through Prescience International, where she was Director of Corporate Ventures, primarily focusing on the JLABS project. She has over 10 years experience in the European and the U.S. biotech sector. Prior to joining Prescience, Kara led the scientific communications and marketing for Belgian-based Galapagos NV at a period when the company grew from 60 to over 800 employees and completed its initial public offering on Euronext. She holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Texas.

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    Chelsea Hewitt

    Global Innovation Activation Leader

    As Head of Marketing for JLABS, Chelsea leads the strategic marketing efforts, program develop and external activation for JLABS. In this role,Chelsea oversees the strategy and implementation of marketing initiatives including online and offline marketing, partnering, commercialization programs, industry presence and other activities to build a strong innovation network. Prior to joining JLABS, Chelsea was Director of Marketing and New Ventures at Prescience International where she led the strategic marketing, corporate partnerships and business development functions which included market expansion of Prescience solutions and partnering with key industry stakeholders including Johnson & Johnson, The National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health Heart Lung and Blood Institute and UC Berkeley’s Center for Executive Development.

    Prior to Prescience, Chelsea was an analyst at a London-based investment firm providing diligence for investment strategies and prospective portfolio companies as well as for the development and assessment of internally generated projects in the company’s internal incubator, Illuminator Plc. She holds a BA from the University of California Santa Barbara.

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    Madelaine Holden

    Innovation Activation Specialist - San Diego

    Madelaine is responsible for marketing and events for JLABS. Her role includes coordinating high-quality, diverse and distinctive programming ranging from one-on-one investor meetings, workshops and large panel series to networking and social events.

    Madelaine’s prior experiences working in the biotech industry include program management at Prescience International and CONNECT, an organization that catalyzes the creation of innovative technology and life sciences products in San Diego. Madelaine has a BA in Communications from the University of Washington. She currently sits on the steering committee for the Women In Bio (WIB) Southern California Chapter.

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    Juliane Humphries

    Operations Manager JLABS @ TMC

    Juliane Humphries joins the Johnson and Johnson Innovations team with a decade of leadership experience in research and development. Juliane holds a Masters in Business Administration from Kaplan University and certifications in process and performance improvement.

    Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, Juliane, who is a native German, most recently served as a Project Manager and Corporate Projects Office Analyst in information technology.
    Juliane's previous experience includes project, laboratory and clinical trial management roles with companies including the biotechnology start-up company Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Medical Metrics, Inc.

    Juliane enables efficient operational work-flows to ensure compliance related to Environmental Health and Safety and Standard Operating Procedures.  In addition, she is responsible for setting expectations and managing relationships with suppliers that assist with daily operations.

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    Alan Koder

    Director of Operations - San Diego

    Alan is responsible for strategic operations for JLABS including the planning and execution of the program. He oversees the service delivery model to resident JLABS companies enabling a cost efficient environment for companies to progress their scientific work.

    Alan has over 10 years’ experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries where he has served in both scientific and operational capacities. Prior to joining JLABS, he led Operations and EH&S at Ambrx, Inc where he partnered with R&D and senior management to improve efficiencies and compliance. Previously, he held scientific positions at the Salk Institute and Novartis where he focused gene expression and new drug development to treat inflammatory, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Alan has a BS in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He is currently pursuing his MBA at the University of San Diego with an emphasis in Finance.

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    Christopher Lalli

    Communications

    Christopher is the Manager of Communications at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, California.  He also manages communications for JLABS and Janssen Healthcare Innovation (Care4Today).

    Previously, Christopher was a Director of Client Services at PR firms including Cohn & Wolfe, Fleischman-Hillard and UpStart Communications working on a variety of business-to-business, financial, healthcare, technology and consumer clients.. Christopher joined the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in 2014 to lead communications for Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS and began his career in marketing at Xerox Corporation.

    Christopher studied pre-veterinary medicine at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from California State University, Long Beach.

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    Stephanie Lehman

    Administrative Coordinator

    Stephanie Lehman, Administrative Coordinator, JLABS @ TMC, coordinates the office operations for JLABS @ TMC and all the companies within.  Her goal is to promote and manage business and financial efficiencies in addition to supporting the JLABS environment to be “the best place to work in Houston”.  This key support role for the organization’s mission includes implementation of operating and financial systems, processes, and policies that deliver and improve upon management reporting, communications strategy, data management, organizational planning and various other business functions.  This role is also meant to champion a supportive work environment!

    As a result of Stephanie growing up in an oil field family, she relocated many times within the mid-continent area.  She graduated from The University of Houston, achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and also a Minor Degree in International Studies.

    For the past four years Stephanie worked at Halliburton, supporting the Southeast Operations Department.  While managing successful projects, she has proven to be a leader in developing meaningful relationships while concurrently maintaining meeting deadlines, which consequently produced high quality results for the team.

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    Samantha Lifson

    Innovation Activation Specialist - Boston

    Samantha is the Marketing and Events Manager with Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS, working out of the Boston Innovation Center. Sammy is responsible for event planning and digital marketing on the East Coast. Her role includes coordinating high-quality, diverse and distinctive programming ranging from one-on-one investor meetings, workshops and large panel series to networking and social events.

    Prior to joining JLABS, Sammy served as the Community & Online Organizing Coordinator at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, assisting with communications, government relations, and social media advocacy. She holds a B.A. in Advertising and Women’s & Gender Studies from Syracuse University.

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    Christina Lonergan

    Operations Manager - San Diego

    Christina is responsible for JLABS operations and execution of the incubator program in San Diego. She provides companies with support focused on JLABS excellence in the service delivery model and customer relationship management.  Christina enables efficient operational work-flows to ensure compliance related to Environmental Health and Safety and Standard Operating Procedures.  In addition, she is responsible for setting expectations and managing relationships with suppliers that assist with daily operations.

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    Minh Miran

    Global Business Operations Sr. Manager

    As the Manager, Business Operations & Project Management, for JLABS, Minh Miran is managing the expansion of JLABS @ San Diego to other innovation hotspots including our most recent expansions with JLABS @ TMC in Houston and JLABS @ Toronto in Canada.   Implementing JLABS in these various sites with these important partners includes oversight over a variety of functions including facilities, operations, EH&S, marketing, programs and business development.

    Minh joins Janssen R&D from Prescience International as Director of Operations for Prescience and for some of Prescience’s key projects overall, including the San Jose BioCenter and JLABS. Minh has over 15 years in business and operations management, having worked for such companies as American Capital, Ltd., Pacific Media, Monster Cable, Blanc & Otus Public Relations and State Farm Insurance. Minh holds a BS in Accounting from Saint Mary's College in Moraga, CA.

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    Vanessa Ramirez

    Office Leader - South San Francisco

    Vanessa is responsible for managing the business office operations for JLABS @ SSF.  She assists with day to day facility needs to ensure the productivity of all at JLABS. She provides support for onboarding licensee companies and serves as a main contact providing information on JLABS operations and processes.  Vanessa maintains records and documentation for both JLABS staff and licensee companies.  She also assist with maintaining office supplies and company invoicing.

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    Melinda Richter

    Head of JLABS, Johnson & Johnson Innovation

    As Head of JLABS, Melinda fosters Johnson & Johnson’s external R&D engine and supports the innovation community by creating capital-efficient commercialization models that give early stage companies a big company advantage. By providing infrastructure, services, educational programs and networks in global hotspots, JLABS is the best place to start a biotech company.

    Prior to joining JLABS, Melinda was Founder and CEO of Prescience International, an award winning firm dedicated to accelerating research to the patient. Melinda founded Prescience after she had a medical emergency that left her questioning the efficiency and efficacy of the healthcare system. With the tenacity and resolve of a patient looking for a better solution, she set-out to create a better model, which now forms the basis for JLABS’ operational infrastructure.

    Prior to starting Prescience, Melinda held posts across a variety of functional areas with a global corporation, Nortel Networks, in locations such as Research Triangle Park, New York, Toronto, London, Hong Kong and Beijing before arriving in San Francisco. She also started, raised capital and did large corporate deals for several companies in both the life science and technology space. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and an MBA from INSEAD in France.

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    Neema Saless

    Operations Manager - Bay Area

    Neema is responsible for JLABS operations and execution of the incubator program in South San Francisco (JLABS@SSF) and San Francisco (QB3@953). He provides companies with support focused on JLABS excellence in the service delivery model and customer relationship management.  Neema enables efficient operational work-flows to ensure compliance related to Environmental Health and Safety and Standard Operating Procedures.  In addition, he is responsible for setting expectations and managing relationships with suppliers that assist with daily operations.

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    Lesley Stolz,
    PhD

    Head of JLABS California

    Lesley is the Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS Caifornia.

    Formerly, Lesley served as the Senior Director of Transactions where she was instrumental in constructing many deals for the California Innovation Center, which included the expansion of JLABS to Houston and Toronto. 
     
    Before joining the Johnson & Johnson Innovation family, Lesley spent 18 years in business and corporate development positions in biotechnology companies, most recently as Vice President Business Development for Sutro Biopharma and BioTime.  Lesley also spent four and a half years in Munich, Germany working in business development for the German biotechnology company, GPC Biotech.  
     
    Lesley received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Virginia and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Rochester.  For her post-doctoral research, Lesley shifted to biochemistry and enzymology at Harvard Medical School.  

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    Jamie Thorpe

    Office Leader - San Diego

    Jamie is responsible for coordinating all business office operations at JLABS@San Diego. She provides key support for the organization’s mission including implementation of operating systems and processes and Licensee client services and support. Jamie contributes directly to long-term planning that promotes operational excellence, evaluates and recommends improvements to support services, and liaises between support and business functions regarding the same. In addition, she plays a hands-on role in program and project planning and assists with accounting functions.

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    James Viola

    Innovation Activation Specialist - San Diego

    James is responsible for marketing and events for JLABS @SSF and JLABS @QB3 in the Bay Area. His role includescreating and coordinating high-quality, diverse and distinctive programming ranging from one-on-one investormeetings, workshops and large panel discussions to networking and social events. James is in charge of keepingthe content fresh and relevant as the year-round curriculum is designed to assist innovators along the productdevelopment continuum.

Approach

Bringing the big company advantage to entrepreneurs

Our resident companies are the best example of why being at JLABS is a stepping stone towards success. Our capital-efficient and flexible platform provides early-stage companies with many of the advantages of being at a big company while preserving an entrepreneur’s equity and freedom to drive his or her science forward. JLABS is a “no-strings-attached” arrangement. There is no first look, no first right of refusal and no equity assigned to Johnson & Johnson or Janssen. This allows resident companies to maintain complete entrepreneurial freedom as they focus on scientific innovation.

JLABS professional operational management and programming resources free up time for entrepreneurs to build value through pipeline development. Instead of being sidetracked by getting their businesses up and running, companies residing at JLABS gain immediate access to core research facilities hosting specialized capital equipment, as well as shared administrative areas. Additionally, JLABS produces a year-round curriculum designed to assist innovators along the product development continuum. 

Events

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Make the Connection

We look forward to our first discussion. If you would like to discuss a collaboration,
simply click the contact us button which will connect you to our Idea Portal and a member of our team will contact you.

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Accelerators

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Neomed (Montreal)
7171 Frederick-Banting
Montreal, Quebec, CANADA H4S 1Z9
(514) 367 1212
mail@www.neomed.ca
www.neomed.ca
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