CAMBRIDGE – Thursday, April 4, 2013 – Governor Deval Patrick, joined by Senator Mary L. Landrieu, chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) – along with representatives from LabCentral’s founding partners, affiliate institutions, sponsors, and friends – will celebrate the launch of construction for LabCentral at a groundbreaking ceremony to take place later this evening at 5 p.m. at the 700 Main Street, Cambridge facility.
Slated to open in November 2013, this new hub is designed to facilitate the creation of startup biotech companies in the center of innovation located in Kendall Square. In February, the MLSC Board of Directors awarded LabCentral a $5-million capital grant to establish the facility. Funding for the grant comes from the state’s 10-year, $1-billion Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Governor Patrick in 2007 and approved by the Legislature in 2008.
“I welcome LabCentral to Kendall Square and look forward to them growing jobs in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “By investing in the life sciences sector, we are choosing to shape our future rather than leave it to chance. We will continue that strategy to create a stronger Commonwealth for the next generation.”
Senator Mary Landrieu commented, “Small businesses are the economic heartbeat of local communities, and they are also some of the best and brightest innovators in the world. Often times, these small companies struggle to get off the ground, because of the cost of getting a business started. By providing fully functional lab space and reducing burdensome red tape, LabCentral drastically lowers startup costs for entrepreneurs. This kind of public/private partnership creates a robust ecosystem for entrepreneurship and should become a model for the nation.”
“We founded LabCentral because we saw a critical need in the startup community,” said Founder and Executive Director of LabCentral, Johannes Fruehauf, M.D., Ph.D. “With no shared laboratory space available, entrepreneurs with potentially game-changing technology spend precious resources and time on leasing, fit-out, and permitting lab space that could be better spent on actual research – on fine-tuning the technology to prepare for clinical trials and commercialization.”
“A key strategy of the Life Sciences Center is to use our capital dollars to enable the creation of unique resources that will be available to the Massachusetts life sciences community,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the MLSC. “LabCentral is a novel model that will provide startup companies with access to wet lab space in a collaborative environment using shared resources. This type of unique work space will help accelerate the pace of new company formation and the innovation pipeline that has been so important in attracting larger companies to Massachusetts.”
“What is incredibly powerful is the amount of innovation, exploration and experimentation happening right here in East Cambridge. We know that Kendall Square is the epicenter of scientific innovation, with the leading biotechnology and life sciences companies headquartered here; I’m looking forward to seeing additional companies grow and thrive,” State Senator Sal DiDomenico said. “This is more than just scientific innovation; it’s world-changing business innovation. Companies like LabCentral, organizations like the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and MassBio, working together with entrepreneurs, scientists and our universities to bring life-changing therapies to the marketplace. This will revolutionize medicine on every scale, and it will all happen right here in Cambridge. I congratulate LabCentral for their continued success, and thank Dr. Windham-Bannister and Governor Patrick for pursuing true innovation and hope this grant will encourage more entrepreneurship and job creation among our life sciences and biotechnology industry.“
“Start ups and spinouts are the life blood of the life sciences supercluster here in Massachusetts,” said Robert K. Coughin, President and CEO of MassBio, the Commonwealth’s trade association representing more than 620 organizations. “We’re thrilled to be a key supporter of LabCentral, which will ensure great new ideas have the space and resources they need to become our next generation of companies creating cures.”
“MIT is delighted to welcome LabCentral to Cambridge’s world class innovation district, where it is sure to become a core contributor to the entrepreneurial ecosystem that the Institute has worked hard to foster,” said MIT Associate Provost Martin Schmidt, responsible for overseeing MIT’s Technology Licensing Office and Office of Corporate Relations. “We have a long track record here of entrepreneurs translating technology developed at MIT into successful commercial enterprises. I’m confident that LabCentral’s facilities and services will help expedite that process for countless companies to come.”
“We are honored to become an integral part of the LabCentral team as its founding sponsor and environmental health and safety provider,” said Triumvirate Environmental President and CEO, John McQuillan. Triumvirate became LabCentral’s founding sponsor with a gift of $2.5 million. The Somerville, Massachusetts-based company will provide waste-management and environmental health, safety, and compliance services for LabCentral. Other early sponsors for LabCentral include the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, and MIT Investment Management Co.
According to Chuck Wilson, vice president and global head of strategic alliances for the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, “One of the great things about Cambridge is the constant flow of ideas emanating from the biotech cluster here. All new medicines start with a great idea and we believe that LabCentral will be a launch-pad for helping entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. We are proud to be part of the founding of LabCentral.”
“We are proud to be an early sponsor of LabCentral,” said Edwards Wildman partner, James T. Barrett. “We see the need for this kind of affordable shared laboratory environment every day in our role as legal and business advisor to start-ups, and our venture fund clients will also benefit from LabCentral as a place where they can interact regularly with entrepreneurs and learn about groundbreaking technologies in development.”
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 50 to 60 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, in partnership with Triumvirate Environmental. The facility 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.