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When biotechnology companies are ready to graduate, they often have problems locating adequate facilities. Learn how four incubation programs helped their biotech graduates find suitable homes.

Finding space for biotech graduates: How some incubator managers are helping these special-needs clients land on their feet

by Corinne Colbert

June 2005

Of 13 graduates of the Quebec Biotechnology Innovation Centre in Laval, Quebec, Canada, only one has failed. Normand de Montigny, QBIC’s executive director, blames it on a building – specifically, the fact that the company built its own facility after it left the incubator.

“The cost was too heavy and they had to cease operations,” he says.

That’s a worst-case scenario, of course, but many biotechnology companies face the problem of finding suitable space when they leave an incubator.

A company could build its own facility, but as de Montigny’s former client discovered, such a move can prove fatal. Construction of lab space starts at $250 per square foot, says Bill Simon, vice president and chief operating officer of the Center for Emerging Technologies in St. Louis. Specialized labs can cost as much as $500 per square foot. Even if the new company has that kind of capital, the money could be put to better use.

“You want them to rent so money is focused on the business,” Simon says.

Here’s what some incubator managers are doing to help their biotech graduates find appropriate nests.

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Keywords: facility renovation/expansion, facility selection/construction/renovation, graduation policy, regional capacity, relocation assistance, specialized equipment/facilities, technology incubator

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