6 biotech incubators for startups in the U.S.

    The cost of getting a biotech startup off the ground is high. Founders not only need to find the right partners, but they must also consistently raise funding to sustain the company through multiple phases like development, clinical trials and regulatory body approval. It’s a tall order for leaders at early-stage companies. That’s why many founders turn to biotech incubators.

    Why are incubators helpful for early stage biotech companies? Many help offset the cost of lab space and specialized equipment that are crucial to a company’s beginning. With resources like wet lab space, incubators help remove what would otherwise be a barrier to entry in the life sciences industry.

    An incubator is different from an accelerator—though organizations sometimes offer funding opportunities—in that the incubator itself does not supply funding and doesn't end after a predetermined amount of time. However, many companies move beyond the facilities offered by incubators after reaching a certain size. Both incubators and accelerators can help biotech startups develop quickly by providing resources and networking opportunities. 

    Review this list of biotech incubators in the U.S. to find a nearby opportunity to help your life sciences startup grow.

    1. Alexandria LaunchLabs

    Alexandria LaunchLabs features campuses across the country in New York City, Cambridge, Research Triangle, Seattle, and, most recently, Stanford’s Research Park. The incubator offers lab and office space, equipment, networking opportunities, mentorship and access to capital for companies with or without academic affiliations. 

    Announced in June 2022, Alexandria LaunchLabs is the centerpoint for Stanford’s planned biotech hub within its 700-acre research park. The incubator is headquartered in a fully remodeled 92,000-square-foot center with move-in ready facilities. Larger spaces are available nearby as companies expand.

    For founders looking to raise, the Alexandria Seed Capital Platform connects applicants with leaders and investors from Pfizer, Roche and more. Eligible startups in novel drug discovery platforms, diagnostics, and research tools can apply and are selected based on a company’s quality and differentiation of technology, among other criteria. 

    To become a member of Alexandria LaunchLabs, founders can apply online.

    2. Harlem Biospace

    Harlem Biospace is located in a growing industrial space in Harlem, NY, and they rent out lab space to technology and life sciences companies that use biological techniques. To create the space, they worked with top designers and scientific instrument manufacturers. Members are able to work in a collaborative area and share ideas with each other. A bonus of this incubator’s location is that New York City itself has a lot of investors and nine major academic centers—providing startups with a lot of room for both growth and learning.

    For membership at Harlem Biospace, your biotech startup must have some kind of experimental component, such as medical devices, genomics, or research tools. They also prefer companies that began their work at an NYC-based academic institution, but will consider exceptions if there is proof you plan to continue development in the city. Also, they give strong preference to companies before Series A funding. Members include Avidence Therapeutics, Bioworkshop and Hess Pharmaceuticals.

    3. Lab Central

    Lab Central has two locations in Cambridge, MA. They operate in more than 150,000 square feet, with one location near Harvard University and another on the third floor of a Pfizer research building, called Lab Central 610. Lab Central’s main facility has space for about 100 pharma or biotech startups to work in a shared lab space. They also offer administrative support and a lab operations team, so startups can get critical services without having to hire full-time staff members.

    In the Lab Central 610 location, up to six early- to mid-stage biotech startups can work in their office space, with space for about 175 employees. This space was created for companies that outgrow the main Lab Central space but want to keep working within its support system.

    To apply for a spot in Lab Central or Lab Central 610, you’ll go through a competitive review process. They accept applicants consistent with their mission “to create the next generation of powerhouse biotech companies.” For the primary Lab Central location, they don’t accept applicants with either more than $7.5 million in funding or those who have 12-month revenue of more than $3 million. Lab Central 610 does not have any funding limitations. Members include Accure Health, GelMEDIX and Branch Biosciences.

    4. Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center

    The nonprofit Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center is located in Doylestown, PA. It’s run by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, a top translational research organization. Its core group of scientists and educators works with members to help them develop their biotech companies. They offer business support services, power protection equipment, and an in-house attorney. The center is in the process of expanding its lab space and adding in a 200-seat event center. Members are exposed to opportunities to access venture capital and network with angel investors. 

    The center offers a variety of membership options for biotech companies. Member organizations include Emergex Vaccines, N-Zyme Scientifics, IGM Biosciences, and others.

    5. Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator (US)

    Located in Alachua, FL, not far from the main campus of the University of Florida, the Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator is part of the UF Innovate program. The program includes four companies: Tech Licensing, Ventures, the Hub, and Sid Martin. Partnering at Sid Martin gives biotech and other life sciences startups a lot of opportunities to grow and find investors through other companies involved in UF Innovate.

    To work at the Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator, you’ll need enough capital for six months of operation and to pay for six months of rent. Along with this, your technology must be well-protected and exclusive, meaning there are no infringements or interferences. Your biotech company will also need to support the educational mission of UF, whether it’s through hiring practices, board membership, or licensing of services.

    If you only need access to some of their services, you can also look into their pass program, which gives biotech companies access to the incubator’s resources and conference rooms as needed. Members include Curtiss Healthcare, Signum Biosciences, BioInfoExperts, and others.

    6. START-UP NY

    START-UP NY, also based in New York, is a state government program that gives participants the chance to operate tax-free for 10 years when they work from or near a university campus in the state of New York. To participate, you must be based in New York. You’ll also need to partner with a state university or college and create new jobs that will contribute to the local economy. Along with that, your business needs to be located on or near that school and needs to support that institution’s mission. To become a member, you need to choose from the list of schools on START-UP NY’s site and apply directly with the school you pick.

    Resources for early-stage life sciences companies

    At Qualio, our goal is to help startups launch and scale life saving products. Our eQMS is purpose built for early-stage companies that need flexibility in their quality management system. Take a look at our platform by scheduling a demo today.

    Looking for insights from founders and investors who’ve been there? Listen to our podcast: From Lab to Launch