J&J, Takeda and Orbimed open biotech incubator

The consortium, which won the Chief Scientist's tender, will operate the FuturX incubator near the Weizmann Institute for eight years.

The new biotech incubator controlled by OrbiMed Advisors LLC, Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (TSE: 4502) officially began operations today. The consortium won the tender of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) at the Ministry of Economy to operate the incubator for eight years. The incubator is called FutuRx, and will be run by CEO Dr. Einat Zisman, along with CTO Dr. Ronald Ellis and VP Business Development Dr. Eli Frydman.

The incubator will be located in the Nes Ziona Science Park near the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. FutuRx has already leased 1,000 square meters including 300 square meters for laboratories.

Zisman said the venture will include 30-40 projects over the next eight years. Each project is guaranteed an investment of $2.25 million 80% of which will be from the OCS's technology incubator budget, and 20% from the consortium's partners. According to Zisman, the incubator’s owners believe that it will be possible to accelerate some of the projects only with additional investments, beyond the required minimum, and they are prepared for this. “Our investment in infrastructure was also above the minimum required,” said Zisman.

Zisman expects the first two projects to sign up in the first quarter of 2014.

Zisman also noted that the equal partnership between the three parties a financing fund and two strategic companies in the healthcare/pharmaceutical industry - means that investments in ventures will not be biased by the needs of the pharmaceutical companies that are partners in the venture, and not by their areas of activity. These companies will not have any special rights within the companies/projects, other than ownership of shares through their investments via the incubator.

The incubator will seek biotech projects, in Israel and abroad, for pharmaceuticals, including molecules in early discovery and development stages, as well as technological platforms for molecule discovery, with the aim of bringing the products to the stage where they are ready to enter clinical trials after completing three years in the incubator.

Chief Scientist Avi Hasson said today, “The new biotechnology incubator is an important component of the Israeli government strategy in this field.”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 13, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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