CRO sponsoring coworking lab in Boston as area continues to see strong demand for space

By Melissa Fassbender

- Last updated on GMT

One of the shared laboratories at LabCentral’s Kendall Square, Cambridge, Mass., facility. (Image: Courtesy of LabCentral © Avis Photography)
One of the shared laboratories at LabCentral’s Kendall Square, Cambridge, Mass., facility. (Image: Courtesy of LabCentral © Avis Photography)

Related tags CRO Pfizer Boston Laboratory Research

The CRO Calvert Laboratories is sponsoring a Boston-based coworking launchpad and will provide various services to the lab’s tenants.

Calvert Laboratories has become a gold sponsor of LabCentral, a coworking laboratory launchpad located in the Greater Boston area. Calvert is a non-clinical contract research organization (CRO) specializing in pharmacology services. The CRO’s LabCentral sponsorship will provide it with business development opportunities.

"We will be offering a wide range of non-clinical testing services to resident LabCentral companies to assist them in advancing their drug discovery and development programs from proof-of-concept stage through lead candidate selection,"​ Calvert CEO Michael Recny, PhD, told us.

Opened in 2014, LabCentral expanded in late 2017 with support from Pfizer and now has the capacity to serve approximately 450 scientists and entrepreneurs in the two-building campus.

Johannes Fruehauf, MD, PhD, president and CEO, Biolabs, president and executive director, LabCentral, said the sponsorship gives Calvert rights other non-sponsor companies do not have, such as privileged access, the ability to hold events, invitations to LabCentral events, among others.

“LabCentral works with many selected sponsors in a variety of industries to provide our companies with selected partners; these include service providers, equipment manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies,”​ said Fruehauf.

Buoying biotech

The Boston market and others continue to see strong demand for lab space, Fruehauf said.

“The biotechnology industry is buoyed by the availability of capital,” ​he told us. This is seen in the public market though also has an effect on privately financed companies, he explained.

This can translate to inflated valuations for even early-stage companies, “which is dangerous for all involved,”​ explained Fruehauf. “However, the investor interest is also driven by real progress made in therapeutics and also other fields, including synthetic biology.”

Fruehauf noted that biologics are now “solid workhorses with mature technology,”​ but perhaps more importantly, “new technologies are showing promise in the clinic and new fields open up,”​ he added. Some examples of this include new generations of gene therapy vectors, RNA-targeting technologies, as well as breakthroughs in immunology.

“The availability of molecular diagnosis opens chances for targeted treatments for previously intractable conditions, including neurodegenerative diseases,”​ Fruehauf added.

Boston boom

Fruehauf said the Boston market continues to see the world-class science being developed into venture-funded startups. Here, he said, “the conversion of high-quality basic science, availability of talent, and abundance of knowledgeable venture capital drive the success.”

“Rents in the desirable locations of Kendall Square where proximity provides value to tenants continue to rise, opening opportunity for more development in Kendall Square, but also building opportunity for some secondary locations, such as Alewife and Watertown, and the Boston Seaport district,”​ Fruehauf added.

However, he said many early-stage companies resist moving further out of the area, such as to Waltham or Lexington, because “they see the risk of losing key talent.”

Boston’s outdated public transportation also poses a risk. “Only with a functioning and high-volume subway system will Boston/Cambridge be able to accommodate the further growth that is within reach,”​ Fruehauf said, adding that industry leaders have to demand action from government to fix these problems.

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