By Sara Gilgore – Staff Reporter, Washington Business Journal
Children’s National Health System has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson’s innovation arm to launch an incubator on its new campus at the former Walter Reed Medical Center.
Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC will bring its JLabs program to the 12-acre Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus at Walter Reed, the partners were scheduled to announce at an event Tuesday afternoon. The incubator — JLabs at Washington, D.C., which supports entrepreneurs working to commercialize research — will occupy 32,000 square feet in the project’s research and innovation building. It’s now under construction, scheduled to open in the second half of 2020.
“We had this amazing opportunity in front of us to create something really new and something very different that could elevate and accelerate discoveries for children and their needs,” Dr. Kurt Newman, president and CEO of Children’s National, told me in an interview Tuesday. “I felt like we didn’t need to look any further — you just know sometimes. It’s a gut check that this is the right thing.”
Children’s National has always planned to have an accelerator or incubator on the campus, a decision supported by an economic impact study it commissioned from D.C. consulting firm McKinsey & Co. The system “wanted to create a sustainable ecosystem that also in a way created an environment for other companies and entities to take advantage of all of the assets that we saw in the market,” Newman said, “and we wanted the best group or organization that could partner with us to bring those other companies, and that would also share that focus on children.”