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University of Florida Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator

Alachua, Fla.

Patti Breedlove, associate director

Year established: 1995

Incubator size: 40,000 square feet

Incubator clients: Nine resident and 14 affiliate clients

Incubator graduates: 28 companies graduated or acquired

www.sidmartinbio.org

Achievements: Through innovative practices designed to ensure that the program provides high-potential biotech companies with the resources and networks they need to grow, the University of Florida Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator has since 1995 aided companies that have attracted $890 million in funding and produced an average annual economic impact of $100 million in Alachua County, Fla. Recent success stories include the acquisition of three incubated companies for $113 million, $98 million and $34 million, respectively.

Unlike most incubation programs, Sid Martin requires clients to justify their presence in the incubator on an annual basis by making a presentation to a committee set up to examine and advise the incubator and its companies. The committee is made up of mostly life science venture capitalists. “This ensures that we always have the best clients our area has to offer,” says Patti Breedlove, associate director. “It also keeps the client companies on their toes.” Mechanisms are in place to prevent any conflicts of interest with VCs, she says. “If at some point they invest in a company, they no longer sit on the committee for that company.” The practice is an effective motivational tool, Breedlove says, even though only a handful of companies have been asked to leave. Even then, the parting has been cordial.

 “Much of the credit for our success goes to our director, David Day,” says Breedlove. “He has listened carefully to the needs of investors. He knows they want an early peek at companies run by credible management teams, and a lot of UF’s efforts go into helping them find that leadership.”

As a result of these practices and others, building a company at Sid Martin and preparing it for its next stages of growth is a seamless and often successful process.

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