Co-working Fosters Cross-Industry Collaboration in Life Sciences

More than one million people use co-working spaces these days and continued growth is projected. Following in this trend is the life sciences industry, a field traditionally defined by privacy and exclusivity that is now adapting to a new work model that saves both time and resources, allowing concepts to be commercialized faster.

Life sciences co-working environments remove typical business, financial and operational obstacles faced by start-ups allowing them to focus on the science that will propel their concepts forward and bring them to commercialization more quickly. Operational management and programming resources support start-up maturation, while the availability of advanced equipment and specialized tools avoids heavy, up-front investments that can keep innovation from getting off the ground.

JLABS, created by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, is one such incubator fostering Life Sciences startups. JLABS @ SSF, a 27,500 square foot co-working facility located in South San Francisco, CA, is proximate to prestigious academic and medical institutions, cutting edge technology firms and VC’s, in the Bay Area – the Birthplace of Biotechnology.

World class life sciences co-working environments provide resident companies with a combination of shared and private specialized lab and office spaces. At JLABS, chemistry and biology wet labs are set up with innovative modular wall systems to provide flexibility for expansion and reorganization common to quickly evolving, emergent companies. Sharable spaces including tissue culture room, instrument lab, café, global conference space and meeting spaces create opportunities for informal collaboration.

Located in Philadelphia, PA, Pennovation Center is a 58,000 square feet business incubator and laboratory that brings researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs together for the commercialization of research discoveries. The center is developed by University of Pennsylvania and features offices, lab benches, Startup Garages, Pitch Bleacher presentation spaces and co-working desks. A full-time community manager with other staff curates a daily experience and all meetings and special events.

GuideWell Innovation Center is a 92,000 square feet epicenter of health innovation located in Lake Nona’s Medical City, a prominent health sciences cluster in Orlando, FL, that includes some of the nation’s top hospitals, universities, research institutions and consumer health companies. The center offers labs, offices and amenities for collaboration including production space, Garage for hands-on brainstorming areas, Innovation Cinema space for intimate presentations and Innovation Theatre accommodating state-pf-the art presentations to larger audiences. Teams can prototype possible solutions in garage and facilitate discussions in workshops.

While co-working in the life sciences industry is expanding, resistance remains among those accustomed to traditional, private laboratory environments. Emphasizing the positive benefits of shared spaces including the reduction of real estate footprint, increased space utilization and optimized interaction and collaboration with peers, is critical to success, along with providing training in available technologies and tools that will help new users thrive. 

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