Mimes, acrobats, and contortionists perform at J&J’s Boston Innovation Center reception

CAMBRIDGE — Lest anyone think Johnson & Johnson was a stodgy multinational health care company, Thursday night’s opening reception of its new Boston Innovation Center in Kendall featured acrobats, mimes of famous scientists such as Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein, and contortionists engaging in a colorful dance meant to symbolize collaboration.

The new center will be all about collaborating with biotechnology startups and academic researchers in the Boston area and all along the Eastern seaboard, Johnson & Johnson executives told more than 250 invited guests who mingled under a tend outside the Boston Marriott Cambridge hotel and toured the open-style innovation offices at One Cambridge Center.


Robert Urban, who left the nearby David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT to head Johnson & Johnson’s new Boston Innovation Center, said the center aims to answer the question of “what door do you knock on’’ to start a conversation with the giant New Brunswick, N.J., company about forging an alliance in drug research, raising venture capital for a medical device or diagnostic startup, or navigating the intellectual property waters.

Noting that Johnson & Johnson already has opened innovation centers in Menlo Park, Calif., and London, and plans to open one in Shanghai by the end of the year, Urban told his Kendall Square guests that “Boston hopefully will be more impactful than all the rest.’’

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