Alexandria Real Estate Plans to Open New LaunchLabs at Columbia University

Columbia University

Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Columbia University have partnered to open an Alexandria LaunchLabs at the vaunted university in the spring of 2020.

Alexandria LaunchLabs @ Columbia will be the second LaunchLabs site in New York City. The Columbia University LaunchLabs will focus on life science startups emerging from the school’s orbit that includes peer institutions. Those startups “serve as the greatest source of new company formation” in the New York City life science ecosystem, Alexandria Real Estate Equities said in its announcement. The incubator program at Columbia University is expected to build upon the success of the startup site at the Alexandria Center for Life Science in New York City.

The Columbia site includes 14,000 square feet of “highly flexible, turnkey office/laboratory space,” as well as mentorship and access to Alexandria’s network of other life science companies. Additionally, and perhaps for some startups most importantly, the LaunchLabs site provides strategic investment capital through the Alexandria Seed Capital Platform.

Jenna Foger, head of science and technology at Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Alexandria Venture Investments, said Alexandria has been focused on accelerating the growth of startups spinning out of New York’s academic and medical institutions. Through its LaunchLabs programs, Foger said Alexandria is “working to bridge the gap in translating academic discoveries into novel therapies and technologies and fostering the next generation of industry leaders to ensure the future growth and success of the NYC life science cluster.”

For Columbia University, this is the second big life sciences announcement this month. Last week, the university announced a partnership with Deerfield Management for the launch of a research and development alliance called Hudson Heights Innovations that was backed by an initial investment of $130 million from Deerfield. Hudson Heights aims to advance the translation of biomedical discoveries made at Columbia University into transformative treatments for improved quality of life and cures for disease. Columbia University averages more than 400 scientific inventions each year. Beginning in the fall, Columbia researchers will be able to submit proposals for projects for consideration by a Hudson Heights Innovations committee. Accepted projects will include a development plan aimed at achieving readiness for filing an Investigational New Drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Successful projects that achieve IND-enabled status may be eligible for additional capital from Deerfield. 

For the new Alexandria LaunchLabs @ Columbia, there was no confirmation of any of the startups that will initially take advantage of the incubator program, nor of the indications at which those startups will aim their resources.

The existing LaunchLabs in New York has been thriving since it opened its doors two years ago. Alexandria LaunchLabs – NYC is now home to more than 20 startups developing improvements in drug discovery and human health. To date, Alexandria LaunchLabs – NYC member companies have collectively raised more than $300 million in financing, with two companies, HOOKIPA Pharma Inc. and Applied Therapeutics Inc., completing initial public offerings earlier this year. More than 60 jobs have already been created as the member companies grow their teams.

In April, Alexandria opened a LaunchLabs in Cambridge, Mass., with the first seed investment going to Holobiome, a company looking to develop novel microbiome therapeutics for diseases of the central nervous system.

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