Life Science Inkubator
The Life Science Inkubator supports teams at central locations in Bonn and Dresden, who want to start a business and dare to take the leap from the laboratory to business.
There are many hurdles to overcome when starting a company in the life sciences based on research results with promising potential for application. Long development cycles and high research costs, as well as a lack of knowledge in operational and business management carry a particularly high degree of risk for all parties involved. As is the case with GO-Bio, this is where the Life Science Inkubator (LSI) comes in. The LSI supports the practical development of products and technologies in the life sciences. Several spin-offs have been successfully created as a result.
Excellent conditions at a central location
The LSI supports researchers who want to start a business and aims to prevent failure owing to financial reality prior to the completion of innovative development and application. In Bonn and Dresden, researchers find modern and well-equipped research institutes to develop their ideas for commercial exploitation. In addition, they receive business training. Project and personnel costs are completely covered during that time and LSI-employees take care of ongoing financing. Furthermore, the LSI develops a viable, ‘IP strategy’ to protect intellectual property.
The LSI as public-private partnership
The LSI originated as a public-private partnership in Bonn in 2008 and has been in operation since 2009. In addition to the BMBF, partners include the Ministry of Culture and Science from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Helmholtz Association, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the research institute Caesar, the NRW.BANK and the Stadtsparkasse Bonn. Since 201, the Life Science Inkubator Sachsen has been a second location for potential founders of life sciences companies in Dresden. The BMBF funds projects in the pre-start-up stage, which have been accepted by the LSI, on a rotational basis with the participating state ministries.
At the LSI Bonn:
- Development of a new kind of transfection system for targeted transport of agents in cells, based on “virus-like particles” (“VLP technology”)
- Mesentech – New kind of regenerative cell therapy for treating patients who suffer from peripheral retinal degeneration based on bone marrow stem cells
- Provios – Epigenetical early diagnosis of carcinoma, prostate and bladder cancer in particular
At the LSI Dresden:
- ProDetekt – Development of new, highly sensitive ELISA and point-of-care immunoassays for the research and diagnostics market
- SmartNanotubes – Production of homogeneous single-walled nanotubes for utilisation in biosensorics
Adjustment of the LSI strategy
To optimise funding, pool existing resources, as well as improve technology transfer, the LSI strategy has been extended in various ways over the last few years.
Meanwhile, the LSI also operates supra-regionally, because it doesn’t always make sense for a project to move to the sites in Bonn and Dresden. This is especially true if expensive devices can be used at the home institute and at the same time it would exhaust the LSI’s capacity if new devices had to be acquired. Therefore, the LSI has been testing what is known as the decentralised incubation since 2014. In that case, the LSI teams don’t work at the central location, but project management and corporate development remain integral parts of the projects.
Founding without founder
Beyond that, the LSI has set its objective to promote commercially promising technologies from German research institutions even if the respective inventors don’t want to start a business. Since 2014, the incubation concept “Founding without founder” has been put in place to continue using and applying inactive life sciences technologies. The project team is then newly formed in accordance with the requirements.