Fragrance innovator Ardra Bio among start-ups at Johnson & Johnson incubator

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fragrance innovator Ardra Bio among start-ups at Johnson & Johnson incubator
The JLABS @ Toronto is now home to 40 start-up companies, more than double the number involved when the incubator opened one year ago. Start-ups supported by the company span industry sectors (much like J&J’s own business units do) and include pharmaceuticals, medical devices, genomics, neuroscience, immunology, and the microbiome. 

Ardra Bio is a biotech company focused on using synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to sustainably develop specialty chemicals for the cosmetics and personal care industry.

Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Ardra Bio has a vision “totransform the cosmetics industry by significantly reducing its dependence on petroleum-based chemicals,” ​according to the company site. “We wish to continue our growth by diversifying our product portfolio with carefully chosen products, and through strategic partnerships with the existing leaders in the cosmetics value-chain who have strong commitment towards sustainability.”

Science and tech

Johnson & Johnson runs an incubator program to discover, attract, and support the best emerging tech and science companies. “Our goal is to support early stage innovators with the resources and network needed to grow,” ​Melinda Richter, head of JLABS for Johnson & Johnson Innovation, tells the press. “And as evident by the 40 companies that reside within JLABS @ Toronto, we are already accomplishing what we set out to do in just one year of operation,” ​she says.  

“The no-strings attached model has been very important to our success in attracting so many quality companies, as it allows entrepreneurs the freedom to operate and do what is best for their company. We are hopeful that providing JLABS to the life sciences ecosystem in Toronto will support continued economic growth and development in the region,” ​says Richter.

Business and government

It’s a program that’s economically beneficial to the region. “Since opening its doors a year ago, JLABS @ Toronto has successfully attracted a multitude of promising companies from our province's life sciences community, led by academic hospitals, world-class research institutes, top scientists and a strong health start-up network,” ​Reza Moridi, Minister of Research for Innovation and Science, tells the press. “They have helped our province continue to build up Ontario's vibrant innovation ecosystem, create good jobs, and strengthen our position in the global knowledge economy while also providing access to incredible resources for our life science entrepreneurs,” ​he says.

Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development & Growth, agrees. In the J&J press release, Dugid comments on the role JLABS in playing in the region. “Through their world-class incubator, Johnson & Johnson Innovation is providing much needed infrastructure and access to funding sources for early-stage innovators to help drive their ideas forward," ​says Duguid.

Many of the start-up companies at JLABS @ Toronto have the chance to meet with funding experts; the program has coordinated some 150 such meetings thus far. And, the venture capital firm Spectrum 28 considers all participating companies as funding or mentoring prospects. 

Flavors and fragrance

Like each of resident companies at JLABS @ Toronto, Andra Bio has access to shared lab and office space, equipment, educational events, scientific industry experts, and more.

The J&J press release marking the incubator’s one-year anniversary notes that all JLABS incubators “are accepting applications from biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and digital health companies.” ​(www.jnjinnovation.com/jlabs​)

It seems Ardra Bio is involved as a biotech company. Of the 23 companies accepted to join the labs over the past year, Ardra Bio is the only one located squarely in the cosmetics and personal care sector.

Related topics: Business & Financial, Fragrance

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