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Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Awards $5 Million Grant for "Labcentral" Start-Up Laboratory in Cambridge


2/7/2013 12:14:59 PM

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) Board of Directors has awarded a $5 million capital grant to support the establishment of LabCentral, comprising state-of-the-art facilities and services for emerging life sciences companies planned for Cambridge’s Kendall Square. LabCentral will use the grant funding to build a life sciences laboratory to facilitate the creation of startup biotech companies close to the centers of innovation located in Kendall Square. Startups will be able to rent small amounts of lab space in lieu of having to invest in their own larger-scale wet labs. LabCentral is projected to create more than 30 construction jobs and more than 500 new science jobs in startup companies operating at the facility over the next 10 years. Funding for the grant comes from the state’s 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007 and approved by the Legislature in 2008. “The LabCentral project will build on our state’s global leadership in the life sciences, grow jobs in the Commonwealth and create new opportunities for early-stage companies,” said Governor Deval Patrick.

LabCentral will build on a pilot that has already been operating for two years, has graduated 16 companies and has created more than 100 jobs. The MLSC’s investment will allow LabCentral to offer flexible laboratory space with individual work benches, a fully-equipped biology lab, centralized supplies and safe waste removal. In addition to infrastructure, there will be a supportive environment for scientists, including seminars and a speaker series.

“Lexington, Massachusetts was the birthplace of the American Revolution in the 18th century; Waltham, Massachusetts was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century,” said Johannes Fruehauf, MD, Ph.D., LabCentral Executive Director and Founder of Cambridge BioLabs. “Thanks to the strong support and extraordinary vision of the Patrick Administration and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center – in the 21st century, Kendall Square will be known as the birthplace of the Biotech Entrepreneurship Revolution.”

“There has never been a shortage of groundbreaking science in the Commonwealth, nor of talented people with entrepreneurial spirit and vision,” Dr. Fruehauf continued. “What has been lacking, however, is laboratory space suitable for early-stage research – to test out, challenge and nurture early ideas into promising new companies. That’s the whole concept behind LabCentral: To give emerging companies the bench space, laboratory equipment, infrastructure and facilities, and administrative and other support services they need to move from a science/technology-focus to a commercial-stage enterprise.”

“A key strategy of the Life Sciences Center is to use our capital dollars to enable the creation of unique resources that are available to the Massachusetts life sciences community,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the MLSC. “Lab Central is a novel incubator model that will be designed to provide startup companies with access to wet lab space. These unique work spaces for young companies are helping us innovate how life sciences innovation is taking place in our state.”

“Massachusetts is the acknowledged world capitol of the biotechnology industry, and Kendall Square is at the epicenter,” said Tim Rowe, Chairman of LabCentral and Founder and CEO of the Cambridge Innovation Center. “This will be the first time we have an at-scale facility in Kendall Square to serve the smallest of new biotech startups, speeding them out of university labs and into a place where they can start delivering improvements to people's lives. It is far-seeing of Massachusetts to invest in this kind of shared infrastructure. It will strengthen our future and help ensure that Massachusetts stays at the forefront of this industry.”

“LabCentral will help meet the critical demand for start-up laboratory space to support innovation here in Cambridge,” said Robert K. Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio, a 600+ member life sciences trade association. “With this wise investment from the state and LabCentral’s outstanding leadership team, LabCentral is sure to become a key to success for many entrepreneurs and early-stage biotechs as they move groundbreaking technologies and therapies forward.”

About LabCentral

A state-of-the art 27,000 square-foot facility in development in the heart of Kendall Square, Cambridge, LabCentral will become a home to 20 to 30 high-potential entrepreneurs and biotech startups. LabCentral will provide premier, fully equipped laboratory and office space, expert facility and administrative support, 24/7 access to skilled laboratory personnel – as well as the other critical services and support that start-ups need to transition from a science/technology-focus to a successful commercial-stage enterprise. LabCentral is a private, nonprofit institution, funded in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. It is slated to open in November 2013. For more information, visit www.labcentral.org.

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a 10-year, $1-billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The MLSC’s mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support vital scientific research that will improve the human condition. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions that are advancing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties among sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.


Read at BioSpace.com

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