CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and SAN DIEGO, Calif. – June 20, 2016 – LabCentral, Greater Boston’s premier coworking laboratory launchpad for high-potential life-science startups, announced that it is accepting applications from early-stage companies, creating some of the most-important breakthroughs in human health. Once completed, the second-floor expansion of its historic Kendall Square facility will add 42,000 square feet of shared lab and office space, eight more private labs suites, and will double the number of resident companies served to as many as 60 at a time. A $5 million capital grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) helped fund build-out of the new space. That is in addition to the MLSC’s initial capital grant of approximately $5 million in 2013, which established it as one of LabCentral’s founding sponsors.
LabCentral Cofounder and President Johannes Fruehauf, M.D., Ph.D., announced LabCentral’s expansion and call for applications at Bio 2017, which opened today in San Diego.
“It’s exciting to add the upstairs floors of this historic building to our facility and build them out as beautiful and functional coworking lab, office, and play space − designed to inspire the kind of creative communication and collaboration among scientists, entrepreneurs, and the larger biotech community − that helps drive science forward faster,” said Dr. Fruehauf. “While work on the entire facility won’t be done until later this summer, we were pleased to complete one of the upstairs labs early. That way, we could accommodate Aquinnah Pharmaceuticals’ need for a larger private lab suite to accommodate its employee growth needs, as it works toward its important goal of developing drug candidates to treat patients with ALS, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases.”
Aquinnah’s path is typical for many of the resident startups at LabCentral, which has become the model for life- science coworking facilities worldwide. Aquinnah’s President and CEO Glenn Larsen, Ph.D., explained the benefits of operating in LabCentral’s fully equipped and supportive environment when you’re first starting out versus trying to establish stand-alone facilities.
“LabCentral is exceptional and just fabulous in my view, providing emerging companies the chance to start in ways never imagined or possible before. It provides significant flexibility and cost savings for young companies like ours because we don’t have to invest heavily in our own lab equipment and operating facilities or overhead expenses early on. Instead, we can focus totally on our research and on meeting critical milestones as we move from the lab toward the clinic and closer to our end goal of changing the health trajectory of people’s lives.”
When Aquinnah joined in the fall of 2014, it began with one bench in the open lab, adding scientists and lab benches as it raised additional funds and achieved appropriate scientific and business targets. Since then, it has raised $16.5 million, including from LabCentral Platinum sponsor Pfizer and the MLSC, enabling the company to recruit the many talented scientists working in its new LabCentral laboratory suite today.
“The Commonwealth’s early investment in LabCentral has directly caused follow-on investments throughout the Massachusetts economy, helping to create hundreds of new biotech jobs and attracting extraordinary private sector investment,” said MLSC President and CEO Travis McCready. “We are excited to play a role in LabCentral’s expansion as it continues its catalytic effect on early-stage biopharma entrepreneurship and helps cement the Commonwealth’s leadership position as the world leader in the life sciences.”
LabCentral’s application process starts with a short form on its website. Following submission, there may be a telephone consultation with a LabCentral team member to help determine if the applicant meets the requirements for residency. Those chosen to go on to the next step will present their company to the LabCentral selection committee, which reviews applications and interviews company leadership to assure that they meet the standards for high-impact science, promising execution, and fit. Startups must also show a willingness and capacity to operate within the LabCentral shared community.
About LabCentral (www.labcentral.org; twitter @labcentral)
A 70,000 square-foot facility in the heart of the Kendall Square, Cambridge, biotech innovation hub, LabCentral is a first-of-its-kind shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for high-potential life-sciences and biotech startups. It offers fully permitted laboratory and office space for early-stage companies that can serve approximately 300 scientists and entrepreneurs. LabCentral provides first-class facility and administrative support, skilled laboratory personnel, a domain-relevant expert speaker series ‒ as well as the other critical services and support that startups need to begin laboratory operations on day one. A private, nonprofit institution, LabCentral was funded in part by two $5 million capital grants from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, with support from its real-estate partner, MIT. Founding sponsors include Triumvirate Environmental and Johnson & Johnson Innovation.
About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (www.masslifesciences.com; twitter: @MALifeSciences)
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, education, research & development and commercialization. The MLSC is charged with implementing a $1-billion, state-funded investment initiative. These investments create jobs and support advances that improve health and well-being. The MLSC offers the nation’s most comprehensive set of incentives and collaborative programs targeted to the life sciences ecosystem. These programs propel the growth that has made Massachusetts the global leader in life sciences. The MLSC creates new models for collaboration and partners with organizations, both public and private, around the world to promote innovation in the life sciences.