Bridging distances to innovate together

New JLABS POD @ Alberta connects U of A health entrepreneurs with the world to speed up the translation of health research to patient care.

Salena Kitteringham & Laura Vega - 17 May 2017

On May 10, the launch of the JLABS POD @ Alberta sparked a connection between groundbreaking health research projects and savvy business minds, a collaboration that aims to be a catalyst to bring solutions to patients at a faster rate.

The JLABS POD is a secure, state-of-the-art video conferencing system that allows researchers and health entrepreneurs in Alberta to connect to the Johnson & Johnson Innovation network, which includes labs in Toronto, New York, San Francisco, London (U.K.) and more. JLABS POD @ Alberta provides immediate access to global markets and mentorship to help innovators move their science discoveries forward-both in patient care and health entrepreneurship ventures.

This space is funded by the Johnson & Johnson Alberta Health Innovation Partnership (JAHIP), a collaboration which includes the Alberta Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Janssen Inc. (one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson) and the University Hospital Foundation. It is housed on the University of Alberta North campus, at the Katz Group Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research.

Leading up to the announcement, the University Hospital Foundation hosted an engaging panel discussion at the U of A with Minister Deron Bilous from Economic Development and Trade, Government of Alberta; City of Edmonton Mayor and U of A alumnus Don Iveson; University Hospital Foundation Board Chair, Bob Bessette; President of Janssen Canada, Chris Halyk; and Shane Sabatino, President of Telus Sourcing Solutions and Vice President Telus Health Alberta. Moderated by Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry's Dean Richard Fedorak, the conversation centred around Alberta's future in health innovation and entrepreneurship and how government, philanthropy, industry and researchers can work together to create an environment for Alberta health innovation to flourish.

"The U of A plays an important role in making the most out of the JLAB POD resource," said Richard Fedorak. "The expert programs, people and knowledge of the JLABS network are critical for our medical researchers and health entrepreneurs to achieve the translation of sound science into proven products and thriving businesses."

U of A researchers also foresee important benefits from this system. "There's a huge void between discoveries made by medical scientists and actually creating a product that can change lives of people living with life-threatening conditions," said John Lewis, prostate cancer researcher from the Department of Oncology and Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta. "JLABS POD @ Alberta will help fill that gap."

John Lewis during the launch of JLABS POD @ Alberta

For the members of this partnership, the JLABS POD @ Alberta reflects the common interest of different public and private sectors to provide new and better solutions to health care. "Investments like these help multiply the economic impact of research and innovation, and the potential to change and save lives of the patients we serve," said Robert Bessette, Board Chair of the University Hospital Foundation.

About University Hospital Foundation

The University Hospital Foundation raises and manages funds to advance patient care, research and health care education at the University of Alberta Hospital, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and the Kaye Edmonton Clinic. Learn more at