J&J opens new research hub near San Francisco

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday unveiled a new research and development facility in San Francisco, aiming to grow its presence in one of the top biotechnology hubs in the U.S.

J&J has had a presence in the city for years. In 2013, the pharmaceutical company opened up the California Innovation Center, hoping to build ties with scientists and entrepreneurs. Two years later, it broadened another startup-focused initiative, expanding its JLABS program to South San Francisco.

The new facility, a 200,000-square-foot campus located in Brisbane, Calif., has a broader scope. It is meant to be the “main site” for J&J’s R&D in the San Francisco Bay Area, said James Merson, the site head of the campus and leader of infectious disease work at its Janssen subsidiary.

According to Merson, the campus will bring three major J&J units and their existing employees under one roof: Janssen R&D, J&J Technology and J&J Innovation. The site can hold up to 400 workers, and people began relocating from their previous work sites in San Francisco last month, he said. The campus will work on gene and RNA therapies as well as experimental treatments for infectious and retinal diseases. It’ll also focus on digital health and data science, the company said in a statement.

Having all of the groups in one facility will help the company’s divisions collaborate and develop innovative medicines “faster and more efficiently,” Merson said.

The new campus is also meant to expand J&J’s contact with academic institutions and entrepreneurs, serving as an additional arm to invest in new research and partner with emerging companies.

Merson wouldn’t specify how much money J&J put into the facility.

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