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LabCentral benchmarking visits in San Francicso

We are in San Francisco for the JPMorgan Healthcare meeting and the buzz is good. The many successful lifescience IPOs of 2013 (and several more in the pipeline) are clearly contributing to a good mood around Union Square these days.

We used the opportunity to do some benchmarking for LabCentral in the up-and-coming new life science hub at Mission Bay, San Francisco. The UCSF-based incubator QB3 built a great new branch on Indiana Street with QB3@953,

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and Director Doug Crawford and Lead Scientist Richard Yu were kind enough to show us their space today.  Congratulations for what you built there ! The place has only opened in October and already has a very active vibe with numerous startups (including med-device companies working with drills and potentiometers) toiling away in every room. It is obvious that you see a very similar demand in the market that we are serving in the Boston area - the tendency among early stage lifescience companies is clearly going towards sharing resources, and leveraging our facilities for greater capital efficiency.

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I also took the opportunity to visit the CoLaborator, Bayer's fully equipped lab space incubator next door to the UCSF Mission bay campus.  They are sharing the building with Nektar Pharmaceuticals and Third Rock Ventures' San Francisco group - not bad for a location for life science startups. Rick Harkins from Bayer's External Innovation Group showed me around - thank you, Rick, for your hospitality ! The CoLaborator at 6,000 sqft is significantly smaller than both LabCentral or QB3@953 but it has what both others don't have to the same extent, and that is the immediate tie-in with a big pharma company.  And that proximity is paying off: four out of the six resident startups at the CoLaborator already have some type of collaboration with Bayer, and that certainly increases their chances of success, at least in the short term.  Bayer, who have 15,300 employees in North America, have recently started a collaboration with the Broad Institute in a first foray into working with our local life-science innovation cluster on the academic side.  We now look forward to building a fruitful relationship with Bayer and helping them access the rich source of innovation that the Boston/Cambridge startup scene provides as well.

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Johannes Fruehauf

@JFruehauf