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Read about factors that support a successful biotechnology or life science incubation program, including capital, specialized facilities, and a strong research base that produces innovations on which entrepreneurs can build technology companies.

Making life sciences companies GO and GROW: Time, money and community support critical to success

by Carol James

April 2001

These days, we often think of "high tech" as "high speed." But for high-tech firms in the biotechnology and life sciences sector, getting products and services to market requires a steady effort at a moderate pace.

"Time from launch to revenue stream is quite lengthy. We're talking about no less than five years, typically," says Pamela Hochman Norton, senior vice president at the nonprofit Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI), which operates incubators in Worcester and Boston and has been incubating biotech companies since 1989.

A major factor in that longer time period is the need to address regulatory and other hurdles requiring specialized expertise, says Patricia Snider, managing director of BioVentures Development Partners in Cincinnati. Such hurdles include conducting clinical trials and securing U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. When all is said and done, it may take 10 years to get a product to the market.

NBIA recently contacted several biotechnology incubation program managers to learn about the fine points of incubating the life sciences. Whether you're a mixed-use or technology incubator manager considering your first biotech applicant or are heading a biotech feasibility study in your community, if you're considering incubating life sciences companies, you'll want to read what these managers had to say.

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Keywords: capital access, managing technology commercialization, regional capacity, specialized equipment/facilities, technology commercialization, technology incubator, university partnerships

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