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Bayer steps up hunt for biotech partners with shared lab space offer

Expands US research model to help incubate companies whose work is aligned with its portfolio

Bayer has stepped up its search for biotech collaborators with an offer of preferential rates on shared lab space to California-based start-ups.

The big pharma company will have 500 sq m of “low-cost, ready to use” space available by late summer and is looking for three to four companies to fill it.

But their work will have to align with Bayer's own portfolio, and in return the pharma firm will seek preferred access to partner with the emerging companies.

The laboratory space, dubbed the CoLaborator by Bayer, will be housed within the 4,500 sq m Innovation Center the company opened last year in San Francisco.

“The CoLaborator is a natural extension of our unique approach to research partnerships where we recognise that innovation is a collaborative process and focus on sharing risks and rewards - stepping beyond the confines of a traditional life science incubator,” said Bayer's head of Global Drug Discovery Professor Andreas Busch.

Bayer is looking for start-ups whose technology platforms, drug targets or drug candidates are a good fit with its portfolio.

In opening the shared lab space in San Francisco's Mission Bayer area the company hopes to tap into some of the pent up demand from academic researchers and post-doctoral and graduate students.

“Mission Bay is becoming well known as a thriving zone for bioscience entrepreneurs, with 38 start-ups already on or around the UCSF research campus, but the demand for new start-up facilities continues to exceed our space,” said Jeff Bluestone, executive vice chancellor and provost of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

“Bayer's new incubator will augment that ecosystem, offering lab space and access to commercial knowledge to help more scientists translate their work into products that improve patients' lives.”

In addition to the academic sector, Bayer also hopes to attract new venture capital-backed firms and said it would offer any start-ups involved access to its global expertise.

10th January 2012

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