Within the life science industry, the definition of an "incubator" varies widely. For life science real estate, an incubator is a facility equipped with "ready to go" laboratory and office space designed specifically for early-stage biotechnology companies. Biotech incubators nurture fledgling companies toward advancing their science by providing the services and environment necessary to achieve success in the research, development and eventual commercialization of their products, including the cultivation of scientific collaboration with diverse, like-minded ventures located within its facility.
The biotech incubator was launched in the United States during the 1990s, driven by the desire of large biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies to discover new research ideas outside of their own laboratories. Today, industry powerhouses such as Biogen Idec (Nasdaq: BIIB), Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), Genzyme (Nasdaq: GENZ) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: VRTX) have adopted this model and are assisting early-stage biotechnology companies with laboratory and office space in order to identify promising opportunities in the early stages of development.
A commercially focused biotech incubator facility is designed, constructed and managed to allow its tenants to focus on their core business -- scientific research. The best incubators are built to conform to the demanding biotechnology research requirements and operated to manage the time-consuming and expensive support functions required to run any business, including front office operations, equipment maintenance and amenities. As a result, emerging biotechnology companies can get their business started and conduct their research effectively and efficiently, and without unnecessarily dipping into their cash reserves or being diverted by the daily struggles of managing a facility.
In San Diego, one of the nation's seven core life science markets, the largest incubator model is the San Diego Science Center located at 3030 Bunker Hill St. in the Pacific Beach area. The 105,364-square-foot facility houses state-of-the-art biology and chemistry laboratory spaces ranging from 700 to 11,000 square feet, each of which is equipped with high-end, epoxy-topped benching with vacuum, compressed air and DI water services. Most suites also include one or more chemical fume hoods.
This biotech incubator's shared amenities were built to provide maximum services at minimal cost and include San Diego's largest contract-operated vivarium, autoclave and glass wash, shipping and receiving, reception, security, onsite building engineers, fitness center and video teleconferencing. The suites are built with modular and flexible floor plans to accommodate expansion and reconfiguration for a variety of research criterion and requirements.
The San Diego Science Center is owned by BioMed Realty Trust Inc., a San Diego-based real estate investment trust that owns and operates 69 laboratory and office properties throughout the country, including 15 properties in San Diego totaling approximately 1.1 million square feet. BioMed's premier tenant roster in San Diego includes Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN), Anaptys Biosciences and Arena Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ARNA).
The San Diego Science Center, offers emerging biotechnology companies the ability to devote their precious time, people and financial resources for their science, leaving the real estate and non-core business operations to an experienced provider. If you are interested in joining more than 20 companies that have started their science at the San Diego Science Center, contact Tracy Landowski of BioMed Realty Trust at 858-207-5931.