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Rebecca Yu, head of JLABS @ Toronto, joins Life Sciences Ontario Board

Life Sciences Ontario (LSO) is pleased to welcome Rebecca Yu, Head of JLABS @ Toronto at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, to its Board of Directors.

“With her expertise in health technology assessment, policy, and the global pharmaceutical industry – along with a mindset geared toward innovation, Ms. Yu is a critical addition to Life Sciences Ontario’s leadership,” said Dr. Jason Field, President and CEO, LSO. “On behalf of our Board and our membership, I wish to warmly welcome Ms. Yu. We look forward to working with her to further the prosperity and profile of Ontario’s life sciences sector.”

A leading life sciences and health technology innovator, Ms. Yu was a key player behind bringing the successful JLABS incubator to Toronto – the first outside the United States. Slated to open its doors in May 2016, JLABS @ Toronto will join a network of life science facilities in San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, and Houston, which house more than 100 early-stage companies advancing pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer, and digital health programs.

Ms. Yu will head the 40,000-square foot Toronto facility, a collaboration between Johnson & Johnson Innovation, The University of Toronto, and LSO members MaRS Discovery District, Janssen Inc., and MaRS Innovation, with support from the Government of Ontario. It includes modular and scalable lab space, state-of-the-art equipment, and offers access to scientific, industry, and capital funding experts. The JLABS model also includes business programs, introduction to funding sources, and subject matter expert programing to bolster communication and improve access to the ecosystem. The space will also feature JLABS’ inaugural device and digital prototype lab to provide entrepreneurs with specialized tools and skills to develop smart health technologies.

Prior to her role with JLABS, Ms. Yu was Director, Strategic Health Technology Assessment (HTA), Government Affairs and Market Access, Janssen Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, where she led HTA policy strategy on behalf of Janssen, including work with HTA agencies/bodies on incorporating global best practices.

Ms. Yu has been an ongoing champion of innovation initiatives; in addition to bringing JLABS to Toronto, she was instrumental in the collaboration between the University of Toronto, Janssen Inc., and the Johnson & Johnson Innovation center in California to create Neuroscience Catalyst, which funds early-stage investigations into clinical treatments for mood disorders and Alzheimer’s disease – chronic conditions that impact hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Prior to joining Janssen in 2012, Ms. Yu enjoyed a 15-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, taking on progressively senior roles in the areas of health policy, medical affairs, and government affairs with Solvay Pharma, Procter & Gamble, and Pfizer.

Ms. Yu is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Pharmacy, and a licensed and practicing pharmacist in Ontario. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, she practiced as a Clinical Pharmacist for almost 10 years at The Wellesley Hospital, focusing in the areas of the ICU, Burn Unit, Gastroenterology, Rheumatology, and Cardiology.

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About Life Sciences Ontario

Life Sciences Ontario is a member-driven organization that represents and promotes the province’s vibrant and diverse life sciences sector. LSO collaborates with governments, academia, industry, and other life science organizations in Ontario and across Canada to promote and encourage commercial success throughout this diverse sector.

Membership in Life Sciences Ontario includes individuals, students, emerging companies, investors, service providers, and companies with marketed products. The organization provides a wide range of networking and educational events, and operates a vibrant mentorship program that is helping to develop highly-skilled talent and build new business opportunities for the life sciences sector. LSO is an effective conduit for delivering policy options to governments, and is dedicated to promoting Ontario’s life sciences sector internationally.