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  • Martina Bellasio, PhD, Marketing Manager at CEBINA

How incubators and accelerators help to overcome the challenges of biopharma entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a challenge, and in biotech these challenges are significantly increased by the high cost of research and development. While academic research often develops promising data on new pharmaceutical targets or novel drug candidates, translating this research into a commercially viable opportunity requires a different skill set from academic research. Knowledge of drug development, entrepreneurial expertise and access to investment is required. Additionally, while Universities in certain countries, such as in Western Europe and the US have well developed technology transfer offices to support new bio-entrepreneurs in establishing new start-ups, this is not always the case in other territories where the biotech environment is less mature. Start-up incubators and accelerators offer a way to boost early start-ups to get off the ground, provide the necessary support and mentorship to entrepreneurs, and generate early momentum to develop a new product towards commercialization.

What is a biotech incubator?

A biotech incubator basically provides a home for an early start-up company. One of the first challenges to overcome for biotech startups that his specific to the scientific sector is access to wet lab space, which is often limited in academic settings. Biotech incubators respond to this need by providing access to rentable facilities: furnished offices and fully equipped laboratory spaces with shared facilities and equipment to allow young startups to save on capital, operational and administrative costs, maximizing therefore their investment in innovation.

At CEBINA, we offer 600 square meters laboratory space, fully equipped for molecular biology, cell biology, and microbiology research, and 1124 square meters office space, with meeting rooms, conference facilities and receptionist service.

What is a biotech accelerator?

A biotech accelerator helps startups to generate early momentum. Biotech accelerators follow a number of different models, but often while R&D is conducted on-site, the startup team is mentored by experienced biotech and pharma professionals, to improve their business development skills and understanding of the market. Having access to the entrepreneurial community of a biotech accelerator is also a valuable opportunity for networking and raising awareness for the young startups.

Many accelerators are structured with intensive mentoring programs lasting for a few months, in which newly formed startups have the chance to sharpen their business plan and improve their product development strategy. Accelerators can also provide competitive access to early-stage financing, or access to a network of investors looking for de-risked investments.

At CEBINA, we can support our resident companies throughout all stages of company development, transforming promising new ideas into fully formed biotech companies with tailor-made services. Our experienced team of medical research scientists, entrepreneurs, and investors has decades long experience in leading product development projects, business development, IP strategy and biotech innovation, providing unique mentorship for drug discovery projects and early-stage companies to reach the next value inflection point.

Sometimes the words incubator and accelerator are used interchangeably, and the business model can differ in some accelerators. However, both biotech incubators and accelerators are key players in translating exciting academic science into viable therapeutic programs that can be attractive for commercialization.


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