Launching a drug development company with novel technology from academia
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Faber Daeufer & Itrato congratulates Concerto Biosciences on winning the third Launch@LabShares competition, an innovative contest through LabShares Newton that awards an early-stage startup with a year of free research space. Faber co-sponsored the competition with DTWard PC, a biotech intellectual property law firm, and Safety Partners, an EHS and regulations guidance firm.
“There were several strong applicants,” stated LabShares in their official announcement, “so the choice was a difficult one, and we are proud to be adding Concerto to our roster of member companies.”
Founded by researchers at MIT and Harvard, Concerto Biosciences seeks to solve the world’s most challenging problems by using novel technology to unlock the power of microbes. According to their website, Concerto Biosciences discovers and develops microbial ensembles, which are specific combinations of microbes that, by working in concert, accomplish useful functions in human health, agriculture, and industry. With a patented, high-throughput platform that constructs and screens millions of defined microbial communities, Concerto creates massive data sets on how microbes function. The startup then uses the data to identify microbial ensembles that perform a desired task and learns design rules for ensemble engineering.
"Concerto's goal is to make effective, safe microbial products that transform every aspect of life, including medicine, personal care, farming, and our environment,” said Cheri Ackerman, co-founder and CEO of Concerto, “We're honored to partner with LabShares as we work toward that goal.”
Valued at $50,000, the year-long membership to LabShares includes access to a state-of-the-art, professionally maintained office and laboratory incubator. Scientific and operational support is also offered along with a variety of other support services and amenities.
This was the third round of the sponsorship competition. LabShares CEO Jeff Behrens commented, “We are excited to be able to support exciting startups like Concerto and play a role in the overall biotech innovation ecosystem that is so important to both the local economy in greater Boston and to healthcare innovation generally.”
The competitive grant award starts with a search and application process. Startup companies that are less than 3 years old, with fewer than 5 employees, and have raised no more than $2m can apply for the year of free lab and office space. Previous winners of the Launch@LabShares award include Savran Technologies and three COVID-19 diagnostic companies - DOTS Technology Corp, Mantle Biotech, and NowAware, which is a subsidiary of Bambu Global.
Faber principal Joe Faber discussed the law firm’s relationship with LabShares. “Since LabShares’ founding, we’ve found many ways to work with them in supporting locally-based biomedical and biopharmaceutical innovation,” he stated. “We’ve helped LabShares to identify entrepreneurs and scientific founders of new life sciences ventures and then to provide them facilities and infrastructure that enable new company formation, we’ve helped LabShares to conduct educational programs to accelerate growth of these new companies, we’ve helped LabShares to make introductions to other professional advisors and potential investors.”
This is the firm’s second time sponsoring the Launch@LabShares competition. “We have seen the large impact that LabShares is having in promoting biotech research and entrepreneurship in the Boston-area life sciences community, and how they’ve already become a critical component of infrastructure for this segment of our innovation economy,” explained Faber. “And, most recently, we have seen LabShares take an active role in enabling local development of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to address the COVID-19 pandemic – awarding free project-based lab space to three innovative diagnostic companies conducting COVID-19 research. My firm is grateful for LabShares and for our collaborative relationship with LabShares.”
LabShares Newton serves as an office and laboratory incubator for emerging biotechnology and life science start-ups. The shared space provides a collaborative, entrepreneurial, and cost-effective research environment for early-stage companies. Like so many businesses today, LabShares has made significant changes to their operations in response to COVID-19. Classified as an essential business, the organization has provided its members with controlled lab access to keep community members safe during the pandemic.
Throughout the phases of reopening, Labshares has implemented a variety of additional measures to promote a safe work environment. The company has taken actions such as separating desks 6 feet apart, installing plexiglass desk shields, installing touchless appliances in common areas, and changing their methods of providing snacks to minimize physical contact. A secondary office space has also been made fully operational to accommodate enhanced social distancing.