CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (September 21, 2017) – LabCentral and Pfizer today announced plans to open LabCentral 610, a new LabCentral offering located at Pfizer’s Kendall Square Worldwide Research and Development campus. The 33,000-square-foot facility is slated to open in December and will house up to six early- to mid-stage companies. Eligible startups include those with high-impact science, excellent execution, and significant prospects for achieving scientific and business success whose space needs exceed current LabCentral offerings. The companies may be ‘graduates’ from the current LabCentral space, or those interested in securing space in the thriving bioscience Kendall Square neighborhood.
A joint steering committee made up of representatives from LabCentral and Pfizer evaluate potential companies. Three local biotechs have been accepted: Affinivax, EnBiotix, and Aquinnah Pharmaceuticals. Companies interested in applying can learn more here on LabCentral’s website.
“As our resident startups have met their scientific milestones quickly and efficiently, they’ve thrived and grown – often citing LabCentral’s support and coworking model as a key factor,” said LabCentral Cofounder and President Johannes Fruehauf, M.D., Ph.D.”
LabCentral developed the LabCentral 610 site in response to requests from resident startups outgrowing or “aging out” of its original facility who want to remain within LabCentral’s supportive environment as they continue on in their next stage of development. (LabCentral policies limit the length of time resident companies can stay in order to make room for a steady stream of cutting-edge startups.)
Fruehauf continued, “Of course, we’re a startup too, and like our resident companies, reap the benefits of working within our own creative shared work environment. Since the beginning, we have been in a constant dialogue with our residents, sponsors, and the larger biotech stakeholder community to adjust, adapt, and fine-tune our model and service offerings to meet the current and future need. This project is a direct result of that process. We’re enormously grateful to have Pfizer support us in this pursuit.”
Pfizer’s Chief Scientific Officer of Internal Medicine Morrie Birnbaum, M.D., Ph.D. commented, “Pfizer is proud to add LabCentral 610 to our growing Kendall Square Worldwide Research and Development campus. Collaborating with leaders such as LabCentral to foster scientific exchange and grow the next generation of biotechs is core to our mission, and it’s a testament to the strength of the area’s biomedical ecosystem to see these types of collaborations develop.” Dr. Birnbaum serves on the LabCentral 610 joint selection committee and is also the Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development site’s senior scientific director.
More about the space and founding tenant companies
The facility features six private lab suites and can accommodate companies ranging in size from 20 to 40 people. Common space includes: six conference rooms; four phone booth/huddle rooms; a dedicated mother’s room and nap room; a kitchen/café; and a “living room” (the corollary to the “playroom” in LabCentral’s original 700 Main Street location).
Three of the six companies have already been selected:
Affinivax is developing a pipeline of next-generation vaccines, based on its proprietary technology platform, the Multiple Antigen Presenting System (MAPS), which induces both a B-cell and T-cell immune response, providing for much broader protection against the most-invasive pathogens.
Affinivax President and CEO Steven Brugger commented, “When we moved into LabCentral in June of 2014, we were
a spinout from Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) with seed funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Today, we are 30 people strong. Working within LabCentral’s vibrant, shared community has been vital to our success to date. LabCentral enabled us to hit the ground running. We accelerated the tech transfer of the MAPS technology from BCH, we built a great team, secured key partnerships, and are now advancing two novel vaccines towards clinical trials. Because of the energy level and network of talent that the LabCentral community offers, our work is often fueled and inspired by the amazing work going on around us.”
EnBiotix is a product-focused bioengineering company using synthetic-biology platforms to transform and revitalize existing antibiotic classes to combat the global rise of drug-resistant bacterial infections.
EnBiotix Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Wager, M.D., said, “We are excited to make the move next door to LabCentral 610. We did look for other space, but it’s difficult to find anything that’s appropriately sized for us at this stage of our development. We’re still fairly small today. But we’re growing. We don’t want to get locked into a long- term lease on something that’s ‘just right’ for now. However, we can’t afford to waste precious resources on space we don’t need. At LabCentral, we’ll have flexibility, world-class infrastructure, equipment, and service − plus, zero downtime when we move. And the staff is incredible − we know we’ll be up-and-running doing science right away.”
Aquinnah Pharmaceuticals is focused on drug candidates with the potential to prevent and possibly reverse the formation of pathological stress granules, believed to be important in the pathology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.
Aquinnah’s President and CEO Glenn Larsen, Ph.D. commented, “Our tenure at LabCentral has been extremely productive due to the superb LabCentral infrastructure, management, and operations teams. This facilitated our ability to focus on drug discovery and development and helped us achieve $15 million in investment from major pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer. We are honored to be accepted as an inaugural member of LabCentral 610. Our move to this larger state-of-the-art laboratory will allow continued growth and an acceleration of our research and development. Without LabCentral’s catalytic support, informative programming, and the energetic environment of other innovative technology companies, we would not have advanced our technology as quickly as we have.” Dr. Larsen added, “We expect to file an IND for ALS in 2018, and will continue to advance our new Alzheimer’s tauopathy programs.”
About LabCentral (www.labcentral.org; twitter @labcentral)
LabCentral is a first-of-its-kind shared laboratory workspace in the heart of the Kendall Square, Cambridge, biotech innovation hub. Designed as a launchpad for high-potential life-sciences and biotech startups, it offers everything startups need to begin laboratory operations on day one and move their science forward faster and more cost- efficiently. This includes: fully permitted laboratory and office space, first-class facility and administrative support, skilled laboratory personnel, a domain-relevant expert speaker series ‒ as well as the other critical services and support. A private, nonprofit institution, LabCentral’s first site opened in 2013, thanks to a capital grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, with support from its real-estate partner, MIT. Founding sponsors include Triumvirate Environmental and Johnson & Johnson Innovation. To accommodate demand for its growing startups, LabCentral, with support from Pfizer, Inc., plans to open LabCentral 610 in December 2017. In 2018, LabCentral will have capacity to serve a total of ~450 scientists and entrepreneurs in about 66 companies across its two-building campus.
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