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Governor Patrick Celebrates Grand Opening of LabCentral Biotech Hub, Announces $5 Million in Capital Funding

MLSC capital grant will double the size of LabCentral

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Deval Patrick today joined the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), MIT President Rafael Reif, LabCentral's leadership, industry stakeholders and state and local officials to celebrate the grand opening of LabCentral's state-of-the art 28,000 square-foot facility in Kendall Square in Cambridge. The Governor also announced $5 million in additional capital funding from the MLSC for LabCentral to fund build-out of additional space of equal size near LabCentral's existing 700 Main Street location, continuing the Patrick Administration's dedication to expanding opportunities for innovative life sciences and biotech companies. 

A 28,000 sq. ft. facility in the heart of the Kendall Square, MA, biotech innovation hub, LabCentral is a first-of-its-kind shared lab space designed as a launchpad for high-potential life-sciences startups. It offers fully permitted laboratory and office space for up to 25 startups comprising approx.100 scientists and entrepreneurs. LabCentral provides 1st-class facility and administrative support, skilled lab personnel, a domain-relevant expert speaker series and other critical support.

"Almost one year ago today, I was pleased to take part in the groundbreaking event for LabCentral," said Governor Patrick. "I spoke then about shaping our own future through the choices we make in public investment. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and an impressive array of sponsors decided to bet on LabCentral – precisely the kind of decision that can help make the economy stronger and grow opportunity in the Commonwealth. It's a bet that's paying off. Today, LabCentral is the embodiment of innovation and in nurturing the next generation of life-sciences companies that will grow jobs, grow ideas and grow solutions to improve health."

LabCentral is a first-of-its-kind shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for high-potential life-sciences and biotech startups. Currently, LabCentral can house a maximum of 25 companies. The MLSC capital grant will enable LabCentral to become home to many more early-stage companies. LabCentral is a unique facility, founded on the open innovation model, which has revolutionized the tech environment. State-of-the-art laboratory equipment is critical, but not enough. Life-sciences companies are more likely to develop quickly when they start out in a supportive environment that facilitates creative exchange of science and business ideas. LabCentral's staff and partners anticipate residents' needs and help eliminate roadblocks to growth. LabCentral's open floor plan and inspired work, lab, and play spaces foster collaboration and the sharing of best practices. Designed to benefit the entire life sciences community, LabCentral targets what is the most critical unmet need for Massachusetts life sciences entrepreneurs – to make it easier, or "lower the bar," for scientists to start new, high-risk companies with transformational potential. 

Through the MLSC, Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state's life sciences ecosystem. These investments are being made under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Governor Patrick in 2007, and passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2008.  To date the MLSC has awarded more than $370 million to support life sciences-related capital projects across the state, creating thousands of jobs and more than 1.3 million square feet of new education, research and manufacturing space.

"We are thrilled to be an ongoing partner in LabCentral, a vital resource for the Commonwealth and indeed the world," said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President & CEO of the MLSC.  "Our initial $5 million investment has helped LabCentral attract nearly three-times that in donations of cash, state-of-the-art equipment, and in-kind services. LabCentral exemplifies one of the key strategies for the use of our capital dollars – the establishment of unique resources that are available to industry, and that will allow Massachusetts to further expand our global leadership in the life sciences. It's clear that demand for LabCentral's unique combination of shared lab space and expert services will fast outpace its current capacity, and we are pleased to be announcing today a second round of funding to support LabCentral's expansion."

"What an exciting day for all of us," said Dr. Johannes Fruehauf, founder of LabCentral. "Our goal has been to create a fertile environment where visionaries can thrive. It's extraordinarily gratifying to see our vision of LabCentral come to fruition here at historic 700 Main Street. We've been successful thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, the dedication of our employees and partners, and the creativity of our residents.

LabCentral has partnered with MIT to create its community space. One of Cambridge's oldest industrial complexes, the building was renovated by the Institute to showcase its historic architecture and significant contributions to industry and manufacturing. From the first two-way long distance phone call to the invention of the Polaroid camera, the building is no stranger to innovation. A dozen startups are currently in residence at LabCentral, several of which are developing technologies out of MIT, and more companies are slated to move in over the next few months.

About LabCentral (www.labcentral.org; twitter @labcentral)
A 28,000 square-foot facility in the heart of the Kendall Square, Cambridge, biotech innovation hub, LabCentral is a first-of-its-kind shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for high-potential life-sciences and biotech startups. It offers fully permitted laboratory and office space for as many as 25 startups comprising approximately 100 scientists and entrepreneurs. LabCentral provides first-class facility and administrative support, skilled laboratory personnel, a domain-relevant expert speaker series ‒ as well as the other critical services and support that early-stage companies need to begin laboratory operations on day one. A private, nonprofit institution, LabCentral was funded in part by a $5 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, with support from its real-estate partner, MIT. Founding sponsors include Triumvirate Environmental and Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
LabCentral:      Caroline A. Grossman  +1.781.771.5579 [email protected]

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