An incubator with lab space for biotechnology and pharmaceutical startups has opened in suburban Philadelphia in one of the largest life science clusters in the country in a move intended to foster new companies and job growth in the region.
The Innovation Center at Eagleview in Exton, Pennsylvania is a 40,831 square-foot space with 17,000 square feet of lab space, along with conference rooms and services to facilitate technology transfer and other small businesses needs. Short leases of six to 18 months are available. In addition to encouraging local pharma and biotech entrepreneurs to locate in the space, it is also intended to serve as a landing pad to encourage companies who may be interested in opening an office in the region but don’t want to be saddled with a longterm commitment. That goes for non-U.S. businesses as well.
The incubator was developed from office space vacated by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) by real estate business The Hankin Group. It is designed to accommodate up to 12 tenants but there’s some flexibility to add additional companies.
Although consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry has produced a surplus of vacant offices, small laboratory spaces are hard to come by in the region.
A group called i2n will provide resident companies with legal and accounting services and offer networking opportunities. One of the goals is to make the incubator a hub for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry with regular events that attract surrounding companies to it.
Although there is lab space in Philadelphia incubators such as the one at the University City Science Center, there has been a strong desire to have a suburban alternative.
“A concept of an incubator in the suburbs has been around for a long time,” said Edward Piscopo, an economic development director for PECO Energy and a board member of i2n, an economic development network that stimulates new businesses growth, in a phone interview.
The space is likely to be closely watched by other property developers and could lead to the development of additional incubator space in the region if it proves worthwhile.
Life science jobs in the area command an average salary of $95,000 compared with the $50,000 average salary for other jobs.
A Milken Institute report published last fall identified the region as one of the largest life science clusters in the country trailing larger hubs in California, Massachusetts and Maryland.
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