Entrepreneurship can be a challenge. And when it comes to biotech startups, an entrepreneur must develop many skills above and beyond the core science driving their business plan – networking, communication, financial planning – all of these are keys to success.
Luckily, many resources are available, especially in the Greater Boston Area, arguably the number one biotech hub in the U.S. According to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the state is home to more than 550 biotech and pharmaceutical companies, with 314 of them dedicated to drug discovery.
As of August 2013, 1,174 drugs were in development; in 2012 Massachusetts received $2.5 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $838 million in venture funding pouring into local companies that year.
We’ve compiled a list of six resources that every Boston and Massachusetts-based biotech entrepreneur should keep at hand. They range from member-driven life science organizations to networking groups to a brewery that doubles as a startup accelerator.
Here they are, in no particular order:
The Bioscience Network
The Bioscience Network (TBN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing life science professionals with networking and career-development opportunities. TBN hosts a variety of events ranging from “networking socials” to large-scale quarterly presentations on topics of interest.
TBN hosted a panel discussion on the “latest ideas on how to set up, manage, partner and fund a new biotech venture” in May of 2013.
In January 2014 TBN will present a daylong event, Latest Frontiers in Research Methods at the Broad Institute, focusing on new technologies and approaches to research such as organs on chips, nanopharmaceutical delivery systems and advanced drug antibody conjugates.
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MSLC) is an investment agency supporting life sciences research, development and commercialization in the state. Charged with implementing a 10-year, $1 billion state-funded investment initiative, MSLC provides a comprehensive set of incentive and collaborative programs to biotech companies in Massachusetts.
Among the organization’s programs is the Accelerator Loan Program that provides working capital to early stage life sciences companies, with up to $1 million available per company.
The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council
The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (Mass Bio) is a member-driven organization made up of more than 600 life sciences organizations, including biotechs, universities and research institutes. Mass Bio sponsors a range of educational and networking events, public policy initiatives, and member services such as a group-purchasing program.
The non-profit was founded in April 2013 with a $5 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and features eight private labs designed for four to eight scientists, as well as co-working bench spots for 30 individual scientists. The facility also offers kitchens, conference rooms and event space.
Another option if you’re looking for lab space is BioSquare, a 16-acre research and business park developed by Boston University and the Boston Medical Center. The facility offers individual lab space, access to equipment such as cold rooms, centrifuges, autoclaves and cold storage, office space, and flexible, short-term leases.
Companies can also arrange access to Boston University’s transgenic facility, NMR spectroscopy core, mass spectrometry and macromolecular x-ray facility.
Aeronaut Brewing/Coolship Labs
This resource is still in the works, but we couldn’t resist the opportunity to promote such a cool concept: a brewery-slash-startup incubator. Coolship Labs, when launched next year, will be funded by proceeds from recently re-branded Aeronaut Brewing, with investments of $25,000 going to early stage life science startups. The companies will also receive free workspace for up to a year as part of the investment deal.
The catch? All of Coolship Labs’ investments will be in companies whose technology is based on fermentation. Cheers!