Planning Your Lab
Setting up a lab your own lab from scratch takes a substantial, time-intensive effort with considerable expense. It requires certifications and ongoing safety documentation. When you are in the early stages of launching a business, this may involve more effort and cost than you can spare. If you are at a university, they may allow you to conduct sponsored research in your university lab (at some negotiated cost and with conflict of interest details worked out), which saves much of this effort. However, if that option is not available, or you are not employed at a university or similar institution, temporary solutions until your business is more established include:
- Collaborating with an existing lab, for example, renting bench space or using the established lab in their off hours
- Engaging the assistance of a lab or a research organization to conduct all or part of the research for you.
- Renting lab space in an incubator, which is defined as:
- An organization that supports the growth and success of startups by providing physical and service needs such as physical workspace, shared facilities, guidance, and some funding. Some incubators will allow you to rent bench space, offices, and use of specialized services, such as cell culture, when you need them.
Examples of Incubators
- 65 U.S. Biotech and Pharma Incubators
- Digital Health Institute for Transformation. Incubator specifically for companies developing remote health monitoring.
- TheraNova – Medical device incubator located in San Francisco
- ThePink Ceiling: Led by Cindy Eckert, who started two health-related companies, her “Pinkubator” supports women-focused business ideas with funding and information.
A lab location that all key personnel can access will facilitate communication and expedite productivity (Chitale et al., 2022). If you are not located near a center for life science research and biotechnology businesses, such as Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, or Research Triangle in NC as it will facilitate hiring, networking, and collaborations.
Contract Research Organizations
Early companies may be able to plan to contract with a Contract Research Organization (CRO) to develop part of the product or run a clinical trial, and it may not count toward dollar limits on subcontracting made by granting institutions. Discuss with the program director at the institute to which you are submitting your proposal whether this is an option for you.
Read More: (External Resource) As Needs Change, the CRO Industry Adapts. By Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.
The Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) for Technology Transfer
The FLC promotes development and technology transfer from lab to market by providing resources, education and training, tools, and services and promotes federal research through a national network with 6 regional offices over 300 federal laboratories. They partner with businesses, academia, and individuals. These resources and facilities help some businesses develop their products or facilitate finding a partner. They offer collaborative research access to experts, state-of-the-art facilities, specialized equipment, innovation, and some end users, such as the military.
Kistin, D. Your One-Stop Shop for Federal Laboratory Information – Webinar, FLC Mid Continent, Sandia National Laboratories 2020; SBIR Road Tour.