Got a startup? Rent a bench

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Science  12 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6240, pp. 1196-1199
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6240.1196

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Incubators for biotech firms are popping up around the world, with the Boston and Northern California regions home to some of the most popular—and most successful, in terms of firms "graduated" to bigger sites and money raised by tenants. For example, LabCentral, a nonprofit organization occupying a renovated, 2600-square-meter facility leased from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, allows any scientist with an idea and ambition to rent a lab bench and an office, sharing space, services, and high-cost tools with others pursuing their own entrepreneurial dreams. There's already a waiting list for slots, and LabCentral tenants last year raised some $200 million in funding. "It is very exciting because we are there at the nascent moment of many really, really cool companies," says molecular biologist Johannes Fruehauf, a LabCentral founder.

  • * in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Trisha Gura is a writer based in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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