A new tech incubator opens its doors

BY Leah Mishkin, Correspondent |

Princeton Innovation Center Biolabs, a new co-working space, which will be home to more than 20 startup companies in the sciences and engineering fields.

The Biolabs founder says it will be part of a network of facilities around the country where innovators build new companies.

“We currently have about 170 companies that use one of our labs somewhere in the U.S. about half of them develop new drugs. These could be antibody drugs or could be biologics that would cure cancer or help you with your rheumatoid arthritis,” said Johannes Fruehauf, founder and president of BioLabs.

But this facility is created in partnership with Princeton University.

The executive director of the Entrepreneurship Council at the school says while basic research and the academics remains on campus, they wanted to create a space where faculty and students could go to grow their ideas into a business.

“Historically, we haven’t had that many spin outs as new companies. That’s starting to ramp up and some of the companies that will be in here will definitely be faculty companies and grad student companies,” said Anne-Marie Maman, executive director of the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council.

She says while New Jersey has similar spaces, they don’t offer the same resources as this one.

“All of the equipment is here. The other facilities, you have to spend a lot of your time and money most importantly buying your equipment in …Whereas, here you come in and the promise is that within one week, you’re up and running and doing your science,” said Maman.

The Biolabs founder says another asset is having peers working around you.

“This is about things like how much should I pay my employees, how do I negotiate contracts, how do I in-license or out-license patents if I haven’t done it before,” said Fruehauf.

In 2014, startups in New Jersey attracted just one-tenth of the venture capital that was invested in New York. But the center hopes to tap into a strength in the state.

According to the state’s website, 14 of the world’s 20 biggest pharmaceutical companies are located in New Jersey.

“Big companies have laid off a bunch of researchers and that talent is now available to help new companies,” said Fruehauf.

The company says anyone can apply to rent space at the center, but only qualified applicants will be chosen.