Harvard’s Bio-Tech Life Lab Set to Open

A rendering of the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab by Shepley Bulfinch

The Harvard Life Lab, poised to open in November, is the newest addition to the growing portfolio of innovation facilities at Harvard Business School. Made possible by a gift from HBS alumni Judy and Steve Pagliuca, the lab will connect students and alumni interested in biotech, pharma, and other life sciences-related fields with a fully equipped wet lab environment and the resources they need to take their ventures to the next stage of development.

Building on the success of the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab), the Harvard Launch Lab, and the One Harvard mission, the Life Lab offers shared space for high-potential life sciences and biotech startups founded by Harvard faculty, alumni, students, and postdoctoral scholars.

Over the past five years the i-lab has attracted students and faculty from across the university, some of whom want to pursue ideas in the life sciences that require wet lab facilities. Wet labs are laboratories that test chemicals, drugs or other materials that require direct ventilation and specialized accommodations.

The Life Lab will contribute to building a thriving start-up community in Allston by seeding the campus with early stage scientific ventures. Together with the i-lab and Launch Lab, the Life Lab will foster the cross-disciplinary approach to entrepreneurship that will enable deeper impact and outcomes, and will reinforce President Drew Faust’s vision of One Harvard.

“The Life Lab is a vital building block in Harvard’s efforts to create an innovation hub in Allston that encourages our students and faculty to explore and nurture ideas that lead to new knowledge, new products, new services and perhaps even new industries,” says Faust.

The 15,000-square-foot facility will have fully equipped and permitted laboratory and office space for early-stage companies. The Life Lab will house approximately 20 ventures at a time, and typically would comprise two to five individuals who demonstrate expertise in the technology/science, as well as an understanding of the commercial/market need, and a vision for how they will build a viable business. The ventures represent eight different Harvard schools and nearly 50% have a female founder.

“We hope by building community we will accelerate their development and increase their likelihood of future success and ultimate impact on the world,” says Jodi Goldstein, Managing Director of the Harvard Innovation Labs, who notes that the inaugural teams reflect the breadth and diversity of Harvard representing the One Harvard, cross disciplinary approach to innovation that builds community and connection among the ventures.

“We believe innovation in the life sciences is critically important to the future of our region from an economic standpoint and equally important to all of our futures in its potential to solve complex health problems,” says Steve Pagliuca.

“We are thrilled to be able to contribute to the innovation movement at Harvard and we are excited at the potential of the ideas that will emerge from this new space,” added Judy Pagliuca.

Image via Harvard Business School


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