One way pharma giant Johnson and Johnson stays ahead of the competition is via its network of Innovation Centers where researchers are working on new approaches to cardiovascular issues, infectious diseases, neuroscience, and more.

The centers are located in San Francisco, Boston, London, and Shanghai – and this week the company announced that Israel was joining the family, in the form of an incubator J&J will be opening in Rehovot, near the Weizmann Institute. Working together with several other partners, the company said, the new incubator “is the latest in a series of recently announced collaborations to fuel entrepreneurship in the world’s scientific hot spots.”

The center is the result of collaboration by J&J with the Chief Scientists Office, Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and Israeli company OrbiMed, the Rehovot center, Johnson and Johnson said, will work on some of the company’s most advanced projects, the company added. The incubator, one of several to be opened in the coming months, will become operational over the next month or two.

The Chief Scientist’s office awarded the companies the tender for establishing the incubator last August. The government will kick in about $2 million over the next 3 years for the project; J&J and its partners have pledged more than $28 million to fund it as well.

J&J has long had a presence in Israel. In 1997, the company bought Haifa-based Biosense, which has about 100 employees in Israel.

“A key aim of Johnson & Johnson Innovation is to find novel ways of advancing the most promising early stage science,” said Patrick Verheyen, Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, London. “The formation of the new biotechnology incubator in Israel is the product of an important collaboration between government, industry and venture capital that demonstrates a multi partner approach in practice. The collaboration provides a unique platform to support and advance new companies with not only funding, but also strategic advice from both venture capital and industry pharmaceutical development experts,” he added.