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Jul 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 13)

Building a Successful Biotech Incubator

Proximity to Academic Hubs and Capital Remains a Crucial Factor in Hatching a Thriving Cluster

  • Government Involvement

    “The state or county can only provide infrastructure, land, tax breaks on capital equipment, etc.,” Klasen says. “For example, Abbott received a $10 million tax break when it located a new manufacturing plant near Chicago,” Hochhauser adds. That region’s goal is to develop a new biotech cluster.

    Williamson County, Tennessee, is another example. With Nashville as its hub, the county decided to build a healthcare cluster that included biotech. Building on existing industry, the county developed the Cool Springs Life Sciences Center to house biotech and bioscience firms. BioMimetic Therapeutics is the anchor tenant.

    In 2003, Colorado decided to make the biosciences a key driver of the state’s future economy. Since then, its universities have increased bioscience research capabilities and added classes to support biosciences. Colorado is capitalizing on its strengths in medical devices by expanding the biotechnology sales and use tax credit to medical-device companies, maintaining a dedicated bioscience staff for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and making a long-term commitment by funding ongoing development projects, including medical campuses, technology parks, and superclusters. A Biosciences Executive Corps also has been created to mentor start-up companies, along with entrepreneurial support networks.

  • Quality of Life

    Quality of life is a final concern in locating a biotech incubator. People expect—and require—a certain level of cultural entertainment. Singapore, for example, boasts symphony and theater, but found it needed something extra to attract the top- echelon executives and scientists it wanted for the Biopolis project several years ago. Therefore, it persuaded The Las Vegas Sands Corp. to open a Las Vegas-style casino in Singapore; the Marina Bay Sands is expected to open within a year.

  • What It Takes to Succeed

    • Access to capital
    • Innovation
    • A critical mass of expertise
    • Leaders experienced in all stages of development
    • A diverse service provider community
    • Experienced workforce

Readers' Comments

Posted 09/03/2009 by BioTech Student

Thank you so much for this wonderful article. I am involved in a project and this article helped me a lot in understanding incubators!

Posted 07/09/2009 by Biotech Entrepreneur

Does anyone have advice on the first steps to forming a new biotech incubator? I am a computational biotech consultant who is also a serial entrepreneur. I am looking to form a biotech incubator in NJ that leverages the academic talent in NJ (Princeton, Rutgers, etc.) as well as Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania, etc.) This incubator would act as a bridge between the early discovery results from academic research efforts and the abundant pharma and biotech companies located in NJ, PA, NY, DE. If you have any ideas please contact me at my computational biotechnology website www.bio-teck.com

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