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Biotech lab for start-ups launched in Copenhagen

CPHLabs is a facility for early stage biotech start-ups. The low-cost labs are based in Copenhagen Science City, and are a welcome addition to the innovation ecosystem.

For a struggling biotech company it can be prohibitively expensive to prove that its business idea has merit. A new co-working lab aims to make lab-time accessible and affordable for early stage biotech start-ups. The lab, CPHLabs, launched in July at the premises of Copenhagen Science City-based start-up community Symbion.

State-of-art labs for start-ups

Symbion co-created CPHLabs with the bioentrepreneurship network REBBLS (Rising Entrepreneurs in Bio Business and Life Science). Both organisations hope to start a new wave of valuable bio-based companies by giving bio-entrepreneurs access to state-of-the-art facilities, explains the leader of the new lab, Josephine Schrøder.

We hope to create a strong and innovative community and to inspire more biotech talents to dare make the leap to found their own business”: Josephine Schrøder, Head of laboratory, Symbion.

Missing link installed

With just over one million inhabitants, Copenhagen is one of the smaller world capitals. Yet it punches well above its weight when it comes to mature pharma and life science companies. For companies with a proven product, there is also a very strong innovation community with access to capital, incubator programmes and coaching. The missing link was a facility for affordable proof of concept-work for early stage start-ups, says co-founder of the lab, Keenan Pinto.

After studying successful start-up ecosystems in USA, it became clear to us, that we needed a physical space for researchers to examine their ideas. We also needed a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who all push each other to succeed. This unmet need is what CPHLabs fills”, Keenan Pinto, Chairman, REBBLS.

Closing the gap between idea and proof of concept

CPHLabs is the first of its kind in Denmark, and the response has been overwhelming. Student-start-ups from Copenhagen Science City partner University of Copenhagen have been waiting for a facility like this. So have early stage entrepreneurs with no university affiliation, because the gap between idea and fully-fledged start-up is extraordinarily wide and deep in bioscience, explains Symbions Vice President, Brian List.

In order to get access to funding, a biotech start-up needs to present a very advanced proof of concept. Producing proof of concept requires very advanced facilities and equipment. With CPHLabs we hope to give bioentrepreneurs an opportunity to test ideas, so that we, in Denmark, can launch even more bio-start-ups”: Brian List, Vice president, Symbion.

First of its kind in Denmark

Apart from the lab, Symbion also expects to expand on its existing start-up community for biotech companies. Henlez ApS was one of the first companies to enter the laboratory. Co-founder and COO Rikke Nørregaard-Sarup was thrilled.

There was no place like this in Denmark. When you are an entrepreneur with a small budget and you do not have the university or a large company to support you, there was nowhere to go. The team behind the CPHlabs project understood what we needed and made it happen quickly. We also expect to benefit from being part of a strong community with other companies at the same stage”: Rikke Nørregaard-Sarup, co-founder and COO, Henlez ApS.

Ideal opportunities for co-locating and co-creating

Copenhagen Science City is an innovation district in the heart of the Danish capital. Six start-up communities, 350 start-ups in all tech verticals and University Hospital Rigshospitalet, University College Copenhagen and University of Copenhagen makes the area one of the best places in Europe to launch or boost an innovation intensive company.