Biotech startups will all reach one crucial decision during the growth process: How will they take their lab from startup to a profitable, innovative biotech company? Will they choose the accelerator route, the incubator route, or participate in a lab share? Will they seek investors or join an accelerator program?
For promising biotech startups looking to quickly gain momentum and scale, linear progress alone isn’t enough to gather meaningful data and reach research milestones. Instead, being funded by, supported by, and surrounded by successful peers in the biotech industry helps small labs and startups to grow exponentially.
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What’s the difference between biotech accelerators, incubators, and lab shares?
Biotech accelerators, incubators, and lab shares are all environments for startup labs to grow, but they provide varying levels of support, expert help, and overall resources for growing labs. Each option provides ways to grow, but at different speeds and with different amounts of involvement from the program or facility that the lab is in.
Some lab growth programs are designed for pre-seed biotech startups, like accelerators, and others, like biotech incubators, are a better fit for a funded biotech startup looking for a larger lab space.
Shared biotech lab spaces are for companies that need more space for their operations but can’t afford a solo lab space, or those who are hoping to work alongside peers in the industry. Shared lab spaces do not usually provide any monetary investment, business strategy, or expert support to their tenants.
What is a Biotech Accelerator?
Biotech accelerators, or bio-accelerators, are designed to be spaces for biotech labs to grow quickly and in a lean way, with a focus on maintaining an agile lab and business model. They help to take motivated labs and help them get the resources and exposure they need to rapidly expand their lab operations.
Good biotech accelerators will help biotech startups by:
- Providing expert scientific support and technical advice
- Investing funding and support to help with strategic growth
- Surrounding startups with growth-focused scientific peers
For biotech labs that are at the pre-accelerator level, many academic labs and institutions offer lab space and support for growing ideas.
What is a Biotech Incubator?
Biotech incubators house biotech startup labs and provide lab space and facilities, with varying degrees of lab facilities offered. These spaces can be costly for biotech startups that are pre-funding and invest more in providing physical lab needs than supporting business growth and lab strategy.
In the world of business startups, an incubator is often a paid office space and team of investors who house and advise growing startups in exchange for a percentage of their business revenue.
What is a Biotech Lab Share?
Biotech lab shares, or shared lab coworking spaces are lab facilities shared by several early stage biotech labs. Lab shares serve as a way to reduce lab real estate costs, while also creating an environment of scientific innovation and research.
How to Choose a Biotech Accelerator, Incubator, or Lab Share
When biotech founders are deciding on where to develop their scientific research, they need to conduct a quick audit to determine their most strategic next steps.
Biotech startups need to think about these characteristics as they evaluate lab space and accelerator programs:
- Lab space needs
- Lab equipment requirements
- Lab real estate availability
- Scientific expertise
- Business experience/entrepreneurial experience
- Research goals
During the biotech startup fundraising process, biotech founders can partner with VCs who specialize in biotech companies, or seek out programs for labs conducting similar research.
Biotech Startup Incubator vs. Accelerator vs. Lab Share Infographic
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