It isn’t uncommon to learn that a biotech startup was created while the founders were working in a research laboratory at a university. Church Lab is an excellent example of this, and has shown that the route some scientists-turned-entrepreneurs have taken from academia to industry is feasible, with multiple postdocs spinning companies out of the Harvard-based laboratory.
In order to develop a technology or platform, founders often turn to industry for support, moving out of academia to start the process of developing their business and establishing the steps for commercialization with the help of various incubators, accelerators, and coworking spaces. Biotech incubators, in particular, can be a worthwhile route for founders looking to access the resources needed to grow and succeed.
Although it is undeniable that the odds are not favorable for any particular biotech startup, having the proper lab space and access to a broad scientific community of peers and experts can increase a startup’s chance of taking an idea from discovery to commercialization.
Below is an up-to-date list of 17 US-based biotech incubators currently supporting the next generation of scientists and researchers. Before we get to it, let’s quickly review what an incubator is and what resources and services are typically provided.
What Is a Biotech Incubator?
Before we dive in, let’s define what a biotech incubator is and how it works. Generally speaking, incubators, or business incubators, are organizations and programs designed to help a broad range of nascent startups succeed by providing resources that many young companies need, and often suffer without.
Biotech incubators, on the other hand, offer resources and services specifically designed for early-stage biotechnology and life sciences startups—wet lab space and attached office space, shared equipment, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Some even offer funding opportunities.
By providing lab space, mentorship, and more, the incubator is able to help “incubate” the biotech startup, providing a “suitable temperature” for the company to develop and grow. Eventually, if all goes well, the company and its founders will grow beyond the support of the incubator and move on from the program into their own dedicated lab space. A figurative hatching.
Yes, there are similarities to incubators and accelerators—even some coworking spaces share similarities with the two—but the differences are significant enough that it is important that incubator and accelerator programs are not conflated. The combination of facilities, services, program length, and pricing are what sets incubators apart from accelerators. For example, the typical length a resident company works out of an incubator is anywhere from one to five years or more, while an accelerator program is fixed-term, lasting several weeks or a few months. This means accelerators are cohort-based, and programs typically take on a couple batches of companies per year, making the selection process quite competitive.
Incubators always provide companies with lab and office space, while not all accelerators have space to offer. However, accelerators typically provide seed funding, and the program often culminates with a pitch day, where startups get a chance to pitch their business to potential investors. While a number of incubators now include mentorship and educational components, it is more typical for accelerators to provide those kinds of resources.
In exchange for early support, accelerators—and some incubators—take an equity stake in the company. Similar to any situation where due diligence and some research can help you find the best fit for you, researching an incubator before applying to join is highly recommended. The International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), formerly the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), recommends that you should assess an incubator based on a number of factors: its graduation policy, track record, staff qualifications, and membership fees or requirements. (Although the latest InBIA Best Practices in Action: Guidelines for Implementing First-Class Business Incubation Programs lays out the standards all incubation programs should follow, I think it gives entrepreneurs a good idea of how a good incubator should operate.)
17 Biotech Incubators To Check Out
Below is a list of US-based (and a few globally-based) biotech incubators, in no particular order, currently providing wet lab space, shared equipment, and other support and services to the next generation of scientist entrepreneurs.
MBC BioLabs is a full-service incubator offering lab space, an in-house staffed CRO facility with an extensive range of lab equipment, meeting rooms, and office space. It was founded by Doug Crawford, a UCSF PhD, who originally repurposed a utility room at the University of California Mission Bay campus that would become the QB3 Garage.
Demand for lab benches at the co-working space increased, and Crawford ultimately seized an opportunity to lease and convert a warehouse in San Francisco in 2013 that would provide enough space to meet the growing demand. Thus, MBC BioLabs was born.
While the incubator is only based in the San Francisco Bay Area, entrepreneurs can pick between three different locations. The campuses are spread out, with the original co-working space that opened in 2013 located in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, just a few blocks from UCSF’s campus. It boasts 24,000 square feet of space and has been called home by 125 startups and counting. Eventually, two other locations were opened in San Carlos. One campus is near Stanford’s campus and a step from the Caltrain station, and offers 24,000 square feet of space, while the other, a 30,000 square foot facility, was built specifically for incubator spaces in 2020.
All campuses offer numerous amenities, including wet lab space, office space, conference rooms, a kitchen, event space, cold storage management, and LN2 storage. The facilities include a wide range of lab equipment as well, from analytical, cell culture, and flow cytometry instrumentation to chromatography, electrophoresis, PCR equipment, and more.
In addition to space and equipment, biotech startups have access to lab services, an additional rental program, a competition, and funding opportunities. MBC BioLab’s various lab services include chemical reporting, safety training, and medical waste disposal, and its Hot Bench Program offers companies additional bench space at $37 per hour. The Golden Ticket competition provides the winner with free lab space for a full year and additional prizes from the incubator’s network of partners, and the investment firm, Mission Bay Capital, looks to provide startups that are part of the incubator with funding.
MBC BioLab’s partners network provides incubator participants the opportunity to work with some of the largest biotech and pharmaceutical companies in the world, from Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie, and Bristol Myers Squibb, to Agilent, Beckman Coulter, Bio-Rad, and more.
The incubator’s resident companies and alumni are a diverse and innovative bunch, including well-known startup organizations and the latest up-and-comers. If you’re interested in getting in touch with MBC BioLabs, simply reach out through their contact page.
JLABS is a global incubation network connecting startups with the space and equipment they need to grow. It is offered through Johnson & Johnson Innovation, and aims to support nascent biotechs looking to create the next innovative healthcare product.
With 13 locations around the world, JLABS provides startup companies a wide range of amenities, from wet lab space to invaluable expertise, industrial connections, and entrepreneurial programs. By providing capital-efficient lab space and resources, JLABS can help entrepreneurs tap into the potential of early scientific discoveries, helping scientists to incubate, grow, and optimize their research and development.
Additionally, as a member of a JLABS incubator, scientists get access to other services and resources, including various infrastructure and lab equipment, funding and investor connections, programming and workshops, mentorship through JPALS, and increased visibility across a global network.
JLABS incubators currently support 341 resident companies, including 235 pharma-based, 67 medtech-based, 39 consumer-based, and 35 cross-sector startups. In total, there are 841 resident and alumni companies in the JLABS network; 153 of those including QFC awardees and 25 belonging to the JLABS Blue Knight™ program.
By the numbers, the incubator network has been able to support companies raising significant amounts of capital, accelerating R&D, and establishing partnerships with larger commercial organizations. 47 startups have gone public, while 38 have been acquired; in total, $63.7B have been raised. JLABS is a diverse network as well. 57% of its participants are starting companies for the first time, while 43% are serial entrepreneurs. Further, 31% of its startups are female-led, and 30% are minority-led.
Investors working with or looking into funding opportunities with JLABS startups include a wide range of local, regional, and global firms. 5AM Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, Canaan, Orbimed, and Frazier Healthcare Partners are among the many investors incubator residents can potentially fundraise through.
The program’s incubator facility locations include cities like San Diego, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Houston, Shanghai, Boston, Cambridge, New York City, San Francisco and South San Francisco, and more.
If you’re interested in applying to JLABS, you can apply online to become an in-person or virtual resident, participate in a QuickFire challenge, or become a Blue Knight™ company.
BioLabs is an incubator program with locations across the states and the globe, including biotech innovation hubs like Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, and Paris. To date, BioLabs has helped the formation or launch of over 230 companies, creating more than 800 jobs. Collectively, BioLabs members have raised over $1B in private financings.
From a single bench to private lab suites, the program provides startups with co-working laboratory space, office space, conference rooms, and more, making it easier to quickly launch a new company on a small budget. Lab space comes equipped with fully-supported, high-quality equipment, including PCR machines, microscopes, flow cytometers, plate readers, centrifuges, sequencers, and more.
In addition to bench spaces and equipment, members get access to a wide ecosystem of resources that can help them grow as founders. Tap into concierge resources, collaborative opportunities, and peer learning, and make connections with industry-leading companies and investors in the biotech and pharma spaces. Members can also seek out mentorships, training courses, hiring organizations, other funding opportunities, and DEI resources through BioLabs.
If BioLabs has space located near you, or you’re thinking of relocating to a city with one of its incubator coworking facilities, then consider applying online. The process is divided into four steps, streamlining the often tedious process of applying to an incubator program.
QB3 was founded in late 2000 by then-Governor Gray Davis. It serves as one of the four California Institutes for Science and Innovation, and is the only institute focused on life sciences and quantitative biosciences. Although QB3 began as an academic venture, it has expanded beyond its original concept to provide startups with lab space to facilitate business incubation and the commercialization of scientific ideas, meeting the increased demand for incubator space by opening up new lab facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
QB3’s incubator locations include Bakar Labs and QB3 Garage-Berkeley, in Berkeley; S3 Labs, in Palo Alto near Stanford’s campus; and Startup Sandbox, near UC Santa Cruz. Its original location, QB3 Garage-UCSF on the university’s Mission Bay campus, in San Francisco, is closed as of June 30, 2022.
The institute’s incubator spaces, which vary in square footage, come equipped with a range of lab equipment to support resident companies’ research and development, and offer access to QB3 core facilities nearby. In the case of Bakar Labs Berkeley, the facility includes more than 40,000 square feet of lab and office spaces within the renovated Woo Hon Fai Hall, in addition to private lab space. In addition to shared equipment—cell culture facilities, benchtop equipment, analytical instruments, and infrastructure equipment—fridges, freezers, and more can be rented on demand. Time slots can be reserved for fume hood, flow hood, and clean room use as well.
At QB3-Berkeley, where 800 square feet of wet lab space is available, floor-standing refrigerators, freezers, and centrifuges can be used. Garage startups (a name for resident companies enrolled in the incubator program) can also arrange to use QB3 core facilities like the Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center, QB3 Cell and Tissue Analysis Facility, Central California 900 MHz NMR Facility, and Functional Genomics Laboratory, among others.
Depending on the location you’re interested in, different amounts of space and various facility configurations and equipment will be available, as will access to other core facilities.
In addition to the incubator program, QB3 also offers a variety of startup support, namely the QB3 Startup in a Box program. Enrolling in the program provides selected startups with a wide range of invaluable resources, including eight hours of help with top Silicon Valley lawyers, discounts on services for entrepreneurs, and freedom-to-operate (FTO) analysis.
If you’re located near one of the institute’s locations and are interested in the various programs and resources, you can get the application process started online.
Founded in 2016, Alexandria LaunchLabs, a “startup platform” for early-stage life sciences and agtech companies, is based in New York, New York, and was created by Labspace® real estate. It serves as both an incubator and accelerator, and is focused on accelerating the growth of seed-stage life science startups as well as providing incubator spaces for companies to work and grow.
Alexandria offers members move-in ready laboratory space, office space, and more, including shared core equipment, operational services, and entrepreneurial support. To help accelerate a business’s growth, the organization provides introductions to its network of partners, access to capital via Alexandria Venture Investments and the Alexandria Seed Capital Platform, and support from its various teams.
Its locations span the US, including incubators in New York City, NY, Cambridge, MA, Research Triangle, NC, Seattle, WA, and Stanford Research Park, CA. If you’re interested in applying to Alexandria LaunchLabs, you can apply online through the organization’s website.
Founded in 2004 and located in Silicon Valley, BioCube, also known as BioCube San Jose, is a biotech incubator that’s been home to numerous Bay Area-based startups since its inception. The original facility, known as BioCube South, has incubated more than 100 companies, and includes 65,000 square feet of lab and office space for early-stage life sciences startups. The organization has recently expanded, opening a second location that includes 35,000 square feet of space, giving BioCube a chance to take on even more fledgling startups focused on bringing innovative science to market.
In total, the incubator has 100,000 square feet of space, comprising individual and shared workspaces; state-of-the art core and wet labs; shared lab equipment and research facilities; and clean, professionally maintained community areas that meet institutional and workplace safety standards.
The incubator offers various equipment and specialized facilities for startups to use, including wet lab space, core labs, a cell culture room, a bacteria room, and more. Wet lab space varies from 100 square foot bench space to 500-1,300 square foot individual lab suites. Incubator members gain prorated access to BioCube’s core labs, and can move their business into the facility as the startup evolves.
Some of BioCube’s success stories include Ariosa Diagnostics, Genia, and GeneWeave Biosciences, alumni companies that were all acquired by Roche for $625 million, $350 million, and $425 million, respectively. Besides the success stories, BioCube boasts a wide range of clients, from companies focused on innovative chronic disease therapeutics to ones working on novel energy storage or revolutionary flow cytometry solutions.
If you’re located in the Bay Area and are interested in the incubator and joining its program, you can connect online through their website to learn more about the space available.
Founded in 2013 through two grants provided by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, LabCentral is a nonprofit incubator and organization operating as a launchpad for biotech and life science startups. Based in Massachusetts, it has locations in Cambridge and on the Harvard University campus. Its network of fully permitted laboratories and office space can support as many as 125 startups, comprising over 225,000 square feet.
In addition to lab and office space, LabCentral offers best-in-class facility and administrative support, an expert laboratory operations team, as well as domain relevant programming and events. It also provides shared lab equipment commonly used for bioresearch, including autoclaves, chemical hoods, BSL-2 cell-culture facilities, centrifuges, vortexes, shakers, freezers, various storage facilities, flow cytometry instrumentation, PCR machines, plate readers, imaging stations, HPLC systems, and more.
LabCentral grew from its initial 28,000 square feet to accommodate growing demand, expanding its footprint to 70,000 square feet, which was followed by a second expansion supported by Pfizer, Inc. that included another 33,000 sq. feet. Following the addition of incubator space, as a part of the 700 Main Street expansion, LabCentral founded the LabCentral Learning Lab, in partnership with New England Biolabs. The Learning Lab is dedicated to STEM education and teacher training. In the fall of 2021, the incubator opened up even more space, providing an additional 100,000 sq. feet of shared lab and office space. This latest expansion is focused on helping companies transition from bench-scale R&D to scalable production of preclinical material in “anticipation of clinical and GMP manufacturing.”
All in all, LabCentral can accommodate around 200 scientists and entrepreneurs with its 54 individual lab bays, 11 scientist “pods” for groups of 3-4, 15 private lab suites for companies of up to 18 employees, as well as kitchen and open-plan communal space. These can all be rented through month-to-month service agreements that can last for up to 2 years.
Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center
In 2001, Mark Schweiker, Pennsylvania’s governor at the time, awarded $7.9 million to the Hepatitis B Foundation in a move to fund the development of a biotech center in Bucks County, PA. Through this partial funding, the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center was born, a nonprofit life sciences incubator fostering and supporting the advancement of biotechnology in Bucks County and the neighboring region. It is managed by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute.
Initially, the center was housed in an empty 62,000 square foot warehouse, but would later expand, buying two more buildings and increasing their footprint to include 110,000 square feet.
The PABC works to create a world-class biotech center, promote regional job creation and economic development, and educate and train the researchers of the future, in addition to making the best use of cooperation between nonprofit scientists and their commercial colleagues.
From shared lab equipment and equipment services to business and entrepreneurial services, general and lab infrastructure, and various training and safety services, the amenities at PABC are state-of-the-art and designed for nonprofit research organizations and commercial biotech start up companies. To see a full list of facilities, services, and amenities, you can visit the PABC website.
Several companies offer professional services on site for startups. The companies include Artemis Solutions, Keystone Innovation Zone, Power 4, and more. Services range from business support to research and development tax credits to scientific business development consultations.
Additionally, PABC offers unique resources for young startup companies just starting off. This includes business and science consultation, networking and investment opportunities, including Ben Franklin Technologies (VC for BC), BioAdvance, Delaware Crossing, and J.P. Morgan, and events to help promote the business to the community and potential investors.
Education programs are also available at the center. PABC is well known for providing a mix of scholarship, technical training, and academic programs to its tenants, programming that has led to advanced degrees in an entrepreneurial, research-heavy environment. These programs are now available to companies located in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York BioPharma belt.
If you’re located in Bucks County, or are thinking of relocating, consider reaching out to PABC to learn more about membership opportunities and pricing.
UF Innovate | Accelerate & Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator
The Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator is just one incubator location provided by the UF Innovate | Accelerate program. Known as UF Innovate | Accelerate at Sid Martin Biotech, it is a “biotechnology business incubator” recognized for its world-leading incubation program at the University of Florida in Gainesville. It was established in 1990 by the Florida legislature and a facility officially opened in 1995 after the purchase of 6 acres in Progress Corporate Park in the City of Alachua, 20 minutes from UF, and has won the Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year award three times in the last decade, in 2013, 2017, and 2020.
The original complex cost $11.5 million to build—funding came from the USDA, University of Florida, and the State of Florida—and includes over 30,000 square feet of space, some of which is dedicated to animal facilities and a greenhouse. At the time of its construction, it was one of the first biotech incubators in the nation. Since 2007, an additional location has been opened in downtown Gainesville, adding an additional 130,000 square feet of new space for resident clients.
To date, UF Innovate | Accelerate and Sid Martin Biotech have successfully incubated 108 businesses, with more than 84% remaining in operation five years post-incubation. Many of the companies contribute to the state economy, and have raised more than $8.8 billion in funding, creating more than 8,000 jobs.
The Alachua-based incubator space, referred to as Sid Martin Biotech, is a 32,000+ square foot facility providing resident clients with a great deal of support and space: 22 wet labs, 8 executive offices/suites, over $1.7 million of shared equipment and specialized instrumentation to support R&D and process development efforts, dedicated, on-site incubation professionals and a full-time technical and lab services manager. However, it has limited dry lab space.
Incubator clients can also access a broad network of advisors, mentors, and collaborators, receive assistance with finding potential funding opportunities, access legal and accounting help, and receive guidance on recruitment efforts. In addition to laboratory space, clients can use conference and training rooms, animal facilities, greenhouses, and a wide variety of well-maintained shared equipment.
UF’s second incubator facility, the Hub, is a 96,000+ square foot “mixed-use business incubator” located in the Gainesville Innovation District between UF and downtown Gainesville. It is considered one of the largest homes for early-stage companies in the Southeastern United States. It includes 28 dry labs, 11 wet labs, 68 executive offices/suites, clean rooms, conference and training rooms, as well as connections to UF’s many resources, service providers, funding opportunities, and more. However, it has limited shared equipment offerings.
According to the website, the incubator currently has more than 91 active companies enrolled in its program, spanning 9 major segments. 26% of its clients are UF-affiliated, 28 clients have graduated in the past 3 years, and wages are 34% higher than the state of Florida average. With a total of 130,000 square feet, it is one of the largest hub programs in the United States.
Its programs aim to support resident clients by focusing on “four proven business-building pillars,” pillars that can help a business accelerate their development and potential success: capital, customers, community, and competencies. This includes capital-focused programs like Pitch Clinic and SBIR Catalytic Grant, customer-focused programs like Sellings Simplified, and various boot camps and skill building courses.
If you’re located in South Florida or are considering relocating and want to apply to join the Accelerate program at Sid Martin or the Hub, you can submit an application online via the UF Innovate website.
Frederick Innovative Technology Center (FITCI)
The Frederick Innovative Technology Center, otherwise known as FITCI, is an incubator and accelerator program for early-stage businesses in the biotechnology, information technology, renewable energy, and cyber security sectors. It was established in 2004 and is located in Frederick, Maryland.
Starting off on the top floor of the Rosenstock building at Hood College with six labs and four offices, it has grown to include two locations, providing even more office space and shared lab equipment. FITCI’s Metropolitan Court hosts 10 labs and 24 offices, while its ROOT location added 10 more offices, eight shared desks, two additional labs, nine shared labs, and 6 extra shared desks. Over the course of 18 years, FITCI has served 124 businesses and incubated 27 of the 80 biotechs located in Frederick. TEDCO has funded 45 FITCI clients, investing a total of $2.8 million.
The center’s Advisory Board is made up of proven CEOs actively engaged in Frederick’s entrepreneurial community, and works to advise and guide incubator members throughout their time at the center.
FITCI’s wet lab spaces are equipped with common biotech equipment found in any well-furnished wet lab, making sure scientists have access to the core equipment and instrumentation needed for scientific research and development. Facility sizes range from 200 to 550 square feet, include access to an autoclave, -80 °F freezers, an ice maker, fume vent hood, and more.
Shared equipment includes a particle counter, centrifuge, thermal cycler, qPCR machine, cell culture incubator, spectrophotometer, fluorescent microscope, and more.
The center’s office spaces are fully-furnished and well designed, ranging in size from 88 to 231 square feet. Amenities include flexible office solutions, training and conference space, secure wifi, kitchen space, and receptionist service.
A unique aspect of FITCI, the center provides an extensive array of programs for its members, which consist of a combination of classes, advisors, and events designed to address the three most fundamental needs of early-stage businesses: coaching, connections, and capital. Some examples include SGAB, Startup U, Funded ‘N’ Brews, and the Edge Accelerator.
SGAB, short for the Strategic Growth and Advisory Boards, is composed of 35+ established and proven CEOS who can advise and guide small teams of FITCI members based on their own experiences in their field on a quarterly basis. As each member grows, they can move onto the next stage of SGAB.
Startup U is a training sequence dedicated to assessing the viability of a founder’s business. The program is taught by successful CEOs and focuses on creating a strong business model and value proposition, supported by customer discovery.
Funded ‘N’ Brews involves interviewing CEOs who have raised significant capital. The interviews help incubator members learn about the ins and outs of fundraising through a structured Q&A, which is connected with the well-known distilleries, breweries, and wineries in Frederick. In addition to Funded ‘N’ Brews, Reality Check helps startups get a better understanding of fundraising, putting members in front of investors to pitch their companies. Startups are able to receive advice on how to become “fundable” after hours of training and mentoring.
The Edge Accelerator is FITCI’s accelerator program, a community growth program designed to help entrepreneurs grow their business ideas. It’s an intense boot-camp style 12-week program aimed at fueling and accelerating the start-up learning curve.
If you’re interested in joining FITCI and are currently located in or thinking of relocating to Frederick, Maryland, you can apply online via the center’s website.
While IndieBio is technically an accelerator, we want to include it on this list as well because it is one of the few accelerators that also offers fully equipped wet lab space for its members. Founded in 2014, the original accelerator is based in San Francisco, running cohorts twice a year that include 15 startups each. Since then, IndieBio has expanded to New York, launching a new program in 2020 that has allowed the incubator to double the amount of companies it works with each year.
Similar to how the Frederick Innovative Technology Center offers a combined incubator and accelerator program, IndieBio helps its cohorts of early-stage biotech and life science startups define their products or services and navigate initial business development and customer segment identification, securing resources like employees and capital while having wet lab space to perform research and development.
IndieBio is the first accelerator to build a $2 million biotech lab in their office, allowing biotechnology startups to continue working on research and development while attending the accelerator program. In this way, IndieBio shares similarities with an incubator, while offering the services and access to capital that are unique to accelerators.
Unlike an incubator, however, IndieBio’s program is a fixed-term, cohort based program that includes a seed investment and culminates in a demo day where startups in the cohort can pitch to potential investors. After a company goes through the accelerator program, IndieBio’s parent company, investment firm SOSV often looks to reinvest in the cohort, providing financing from the seed stage through to Series C.
Bayer CoLaborator is an internationally-based incubator for life sciences startups, focused on providing entrepreneurs and early-stage companies the laboratory and office space needed to help them grow from an idea into a viable business. It has locations in West Sacramento, Berlin, Moscow, and Kobe. An incubator space in San Francisco was recently shuttered.
Startups can leverage access to Bayer’s research expertise and infrastructure and rely on the incubator as a first point of contact in the search for a viable partner in the pharma or agriculture industry. Bayer CoLaborator works with partners in academia and industry, in addition to patient organizations and regulatory authorities, to support and advance research and develop platform technologies that widen the foundation for future research in pharmaceuticals and agriculture.
By helping early-stage ideas grow and fueling the momentum of innovation in the fields of health and nutrition, Bayer benefits from its collaboration with nascent startups, creating solid scientific relationships for the company and responding to the challenges of the 21st century.
Its offerings include ready-to-use lab and office space, shared communal space, flexible lease terms, access to global expertise, and networking opportunities, as well as the ability to remain autonomous from Bayer as you perform your research and development. Mentorship and potential access to funding is also available, depending on the CoLaborator you join.
In total, Bayer CoLaborator offers over 1,500 square meters of lab space and offices (or 16,000+ square feet), and has been home to more than 25 companies since its inception in 2012.
Depending on the location, varying amounts of space and amenities are available. For example, CoLaborator Berlin is located in the city center, a major R&D hub, on the site of Bayer Pharmaceuticals division’s headquarters. Its proximity to Bayer research and Berlin’s start-up community makes it an ideal place for fostering innovative ideas.
The incubator includes a little more than 8,600 square feet, and is set up in an independent building on the Bayer research campus. About 4,500 square feet of that is dedicated to laboratory space. The space also includes office modules and shared areas. In all, these amenities and services offer ideal conditions for nascent companies at affordable costs.
CoLaborator West Sacramento is located at Bayer’s Crop Science R&D Center, situated close to Sacramento’s Downtown area. The lab space there is designed to house and incubate innovative new companies looking to transform the agriculture industry and creates opportunities for collaboration by providing a common space for researchers to come together.
The CoLaborator space is an open floor plan consisting of 3,000 square feet of shared lab space, dedicated offices and cubicles, and conference rooms. Lab equipment for agriculture tech start-ups is included to support members as they begin working to test their ideas. Additionally, Bayer support includes Environmental Health & Safety services and applicable environmental Biosafety site permits as well as waste disposal.
Interested in joining a CoLaborator space? You can contact a site manager via email and begin the application process by submitting some basic information as well as a cover letter explaining your company and its focus.
NJ Bioscience Center-Incubator
Supported by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), the Incubator at North Brunswick is New Jersey’s largest biotech incubator, serving as one of the more significant incubation facilities in the nation. Its 46,000 square feet of space is dedicated to life sciences and biotechnology companies in the early stages of development, providing wet lab space on the campus of the New Jersey Bioscience Center, a 50 acre research park in the heart of the state’s “Research Corridor” in North Brunswick.
The center is home to a number of successful biotechs, including well known businesses like Orthobond, Visikol, Amicus Therapeutics, Grace Therapeutics, and Chromocell. The incubator’s location offers quick access to both Philadelphia and New York City, and is close in proximity to Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Princeton University.
The incubator features multiple lab units designed with interdependence in mind. Each unit features small and large lab sizes that can combine to support growing companies, with up to a total of 6,000 square feet of office and lab space available. Additional features include modular and fully adjustable lab casework system with workstations, equipment areas with 120V/208V power receptacles, temperature controlled units with HVAC system, 6 foot chemical fume hoods with flammable-storage base cabinets, autoclaves, safety showers, and more. Office space includes a range of office suites and fully furnished small offices.
Some of the common services members can take advantage of include a media room with high-speed Internet access, fax, copier and printer, conference rooms and reception/visitors area, receptionist services, administrative support, audio and visual presentation equipment, as well as a dedicated shipping and receiving area. Furthermore, members can access a variety of business services, including on-site managerial mentoring, financial consulting, networking and educational assistance in securing grants and capital, access to a network of service providers, and monthly funding presentations.
NJ Biosciences Center-Incubator also offers a program providing free rent for up to 5 months to qualified biotech, known as the NJ Ignite Program. To be eligible for NJ Ignite at the Incubator at North Brunswick, the company must meet a number of requirements, such as a management team having substantial technical experience, funding commitment to sustain them through a year or more of operations, and corporate ownership structure, as well as a focus on commercializing in-licensed academic and/or medical center-based innovative discovery technologies—eligible categories include new chemical entity, drug discovery technologies, diagnostics, digital health, devices, and biologics. A comprehensive list of criteria can be found on the center’s website.
If you’re located near the Incubator at North Brunswick, or are thinking of relocating, and want to join the program, you can email the director, program officer, or program specialist. Their emails are found on the incubator’s website, near the bottom of the page.
Harlem Biospace is a New York-based biotech incubator founded by Samuel Sia and Christine Kovich in collaboration with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). It provides co-working wet lab space to life sciences and technology companies using biological techniques to develop early-stage ideas.
It is located in a former laboratory for confectionery research in the old Factory District of Harlem, in Manhattan, a new development that sits between three Columbia University, City College of New York, and Columbia Manhattanville campus, with access to additional universities and the dynamism of NYC.
Once selected as a member company, a startup can rent bench space for $1,145 per desk per month, with only a 6-month commitment required. Harlem Biospace, or HB, does not ask for equity, something other incubators often require in order for a company to become a member. You can check out their current batch of member companies by visiting the website.
Startups renting space at HB will have access to a work desk, shared wet lab bench, all utilities, wifi, and printing, in addition to shared core and lab equipment, including cell culture hoods, incubators, benchtop centrifuges, chemical fume hood, autoclave, microscopes, and freezers. The equipment is available at no extra cost.
On top of space and equipment, member companies can access mentorship services, events and classes, and leverage the community at HB to learn and share with like-minded scientist entrepreneurs.
Mentorship includes one-on-one guidance with mentors, investors, and others with experience in the biotech sector. Events and classes include courses that teach startup founders about the business side of launching a small business.
Interested in joining Harlem Biospace? You can apply for membership via their website.
Altitude Lab is a biotech and healthcare incubator founded in 2020 and based in Utah. It was established as a collaboration between the University of Utah’s PIVOT Center and Recursion, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on industrializing drug discovery. The collaborative goal of this partnership, and the mission of Altitude Lab, is to “build the economic backbone for Utah’s health care sector by investing in a new, diverse generation of founders.”
This involves providing founders with the infrastructure, space, equipment, and funding needed to support early-stage research and development. 15,000 square feet of co-working lab and office space and $1 million in cutting-edge cell and molecular biology tools and equipment available for incubator members makes it easier for labs to launch and build on their ideas without needing to heavily invest in infrastructure on their own, something that can prove to be quite difficult.
As a resident, you can receive unlimited lab access and insightful guidance from veteran industry experts and entrepreneurs across the nation, as well as connect with mentors and investors who can help fund, support, and introduce your startup. Altitude Lab’s lab management, training, and experimental help to support your technology development and its partnered health care venture capital network helps close the opportunity gap for nontraditional founders. You may recognize partners from such firms as RA Capital, University of Utah Innovation Fund, MedMountain Ventures, and Lux Capital.
Altitude Lab’s membership plan lets you grow without worrying about infrastructure, inventory, or maintenance, providing members with access to a fully equipped coworking lab and office. Depending on your needs, you can start with a single bench and scale as you see fit.
Prices vary based on what you’re interested in: one desk is $300 per month, and includes a sit/stand desk, high speed internet, and access to conference rooms, event venues, and lounges; a lab bench is $2,250 per month, and includes access to a professionally managed lab, shared equipment, storage, and various lab services ; the Stash is $150 per month, and includes tips, tubes, plates, and more that make restocking simple.
Altitude Lab’s residents include businesses like 3Heli, Teiko.Bio, and Peel Therapeutics, with alumni including companies like Known Medicine and ePurines. Its partners include Recursion, the University of Utah, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and CSBI Instrumentation.
If you’re located in Utah (or plan on relocating) and are interested in applying to Altitude Lab and becoming a resident, you can apply online via their website.
Founded in 2018, Nest.Bio Labs is an “international shared community” that has incubated 36 companies to date, helping to create over 1,029 local jobs and $10.5 billion in market cap value. With its headquarters in Cambridge and a partner site in Singapore, Nest.Bio Labs supports emerging biotechs by providing over 40,000 square feet of shared lab and office space across multiple countries, working closely with resident companies and founders to develop, fund, and commercialize their technologies.
The central infrastructure of its 13,000 square foot Cambridge-based facility, located near Kendall Square, includes turnkey lab equipment and services with flexible terms and no equity requirements. The fully permitted laboratory has more than 50 oversized benches and shared equipment necessary for biotechnology and life sciences research, including lab rooms equipped for autoclaving, microscopy, cryostorage, and more.
The equipment available in its Kendall Square facility include a thermal cycler, qRT-PCR machine, and plate washer and reader, as well as microscopes and imaging station, fume hoods, cell culture room, centrifuge, and more. Its lab services include equipment maintenance; cleaning, chemical, and biohazard waste removal; permits for lab operations; group ordering benefits for lab supplies; EHS training and compliance; and more.
Nest.Bio Labs’ office amenities include a receptionist/administrator, printing and copying, access to nearby facilities, over 60 desks and private offices, conference rooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, and more.
The incubator has partnered with a number of therapeutics companies across the globe, including Engine Biosciences, Senti Bio, and PAQ therapeutics, among others. This network of partners support Nest.Bio Labs’ resident companies by working on site, helping create a hub for residents to work closely with leading clinicians and scientific trailblazers. The presence of its partners is just one aspect of the incubator’s approach to investing in its resident companies alongside assistance in company building from day one and the support of Nest.Bio Labs’ team of scientists, physicians, and industry veterans.
If you’re interested in contacting the Nest.Bio Labs team, you can do so by submitting a contact form on their website.
MRB Life Sciences Incubator
Centrally located on the UC Riverside campus in the Multidisciplinary Research Building (MRB), the MRB Life Sciences Incubator includes 3,000 square feet of lab and office space outfitted to support companies from the life sciences, agriculture, biotechnology, and medical industries located in and around Riverside, as well as create opportunities for students attending UCR to build on a scientific idea and grow a business or learn from entrepreneurs doing just that.
The Incubator features bench space, tissue culture rooms with six biosafety cabinets, four chemistry hoods, five plant growth chambers, and a wide selection of state-of-the-art lab equipment. This includes FPLC and HPLC equipment, UV/VIS spectrophotometer, microplate reader and imaging system, gel electrophoresis and western blotting equipment, centrifuges, flow cytometry and cell counter instrumentation, cryo-storage, incubators and shakers, and much more.
Additionally, incubator residents have access to core equipment facilities through a service agreement, including electron and confocal microscopy, NMR spectroscopy, bioinformatics, mass spectrometry, proteomics, and more.
Because the incubator is located on the UC Riverside campus, residents will have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with UCR faculty, researchers, and students, as well as attend seminars, use library and patent research services, and access the UCR SBIR/STTR Resource center.
The incubator’s pricing depends on what you need to operate and grow. Bench space is available for $2,250 per month, and includes access to all incubator lab equipment; desks within a private office are available at $400 per month; offices, which include two desks, are priced at $700 per month; a hot desk costs $350 per month. (A hot desk includes a workstation in the common area and wifi access, but no access to lab space.)
If you’re interested in applying to the MRB Life Sciences Incubator, you can contact David Pearson, the managing director, or Maricela Argueta, the lab manager, via email.
Can an Incubator Help Your Lab?
Joining an incubator can be a massive boost for your biotech, however, receiving approval can be difficult. Many competitive incubators have long waiting lists, can be quite expensive, and may even require equity in your business as part of being a member. This isn’t always the case though. When the incubator does ask for a stake in the business, it typically isn’t a large one.
It’s important that you research the incubator and compare to better understand what amenities and resources are provided, the pricing, and any other requirements that might be asked of you when joining. Finding an incubator that you’re comfortable with is one of the first steps you can take to determine whether it will help your lab succeed.
If you’re sure that joining an incubator is the right move for you, then the answer to “can an incubator help your lab?” is pretty simple: yes, it absolutely can! As you’re well aware, starting a biotech or life sciences startup isn’t the same as a tech company. Your overhead, and the costs of R&D, are going to be much more than building an app.
Your equipment and space requirements will cost more and be more specialized as well. Because the initial investments can be so burdensome, it can help to rely on an incubator to provide infrastructure, equipment, and resources that you may not otherwise have access to or be able to afford.
Rather than go through rigorous fundraising on an idea that you may not have enough preliminary data for, you can rely on an incubator’s space, equipment, and network to quickly get to work and obtain the data points you’ll need to eventually secure more funding and grow your business.
What Are Some Alternatives?
Some coworking spaces can be a viable alternative to biotech incubators, as they may cost less simply because they don’t offer additional amenities, such as mentorship, counseling, and networking opportunities.
These businesses typically just offer office and lab space to work out of, along with shared lab equipment, and can be less expensive than incubators. Additionally, coworking spaces rarely ask for any equity in your business or minimum time commitments. Simply rent a lab bench and pay as you go. Bonneville Labs is a good example of a coworking lab space in the Bay Area.
Not all coworking spaces offer lab space however. First make sure the organization you’re looking into offers wet lab or dry lab space.
Hatching the Next Biotech Generation
Whatever you go with, you’re well aware of the challenges of starting and running a biotech startup. Incubators, despite their drawbacks, can be where you not only flesh and grow your business plan and model, but make connections that can help you down the road.
This is the invaluable aspect of incubators, the chance to meet with folks that can guide through the difficulties of creating a healthcare product and getting it to market.
If you grow beyond the amount of space an incubator can support, you’ll need your own lab facility. However, outfitting a new lab can be challenging. Life sciences and biotech equipment is expensive, and can quickly become obsolete. Lease your lab equipment with Excedr and have peace of mind. Our leasing program is designed specifically to benefit emerging life sciences companies.