Student using a pipet in a laboratory

U.S. Commerce Department awards $500,000 to Cal State LA, Biocom Institute and Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator for LABioStart boot camp

LOS ANGELES AND SAN DIEGO – California State University, Los Angeles and its partners the Biocom Institute and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) have been awarded an i6 Challenge grant of nearly $500,000 to fund LABioStart, a boot camp to train emerging bioscience entrepreneurs in the region and prepare them to launch bioscience startup companies. The award is part of the Department of Commerce Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program, which helps communities create the building blocks that foster economic development through new technologies and job creation.

In addition to the flagship LABioStart boot camp, the grant will support ancillary programs to promote bioscience innovation and facilitate networking in the Los Angeles area. The programs will leverage the distinct strengths of the three primary partner organizations (Cal State LA, Biocom Institute and LACI) and will engage local governments and additional partners to develop suites of training modules in business fundamentals, leadership skills and bioscience-specific business competencies. Using these modules and leveraging a team of seasoned subject matter experts and mentors, LABioStart will train five cohorts of emerging bioscience entrepreneurs during the three-year funding period, with the first boot camp planned for summer 2017. Each cohort of boot camp participants will learn from and interact with experts and mentors during four weeks of intensive training in areas including: business formation, human resources, financing, intellectual property, visioning and strategic planning, interpersonal and communication skills, research and development process, and regulatory affairs and manufacturing.

In addition to its boot camp, LABioStart, in collaboration with a long list of additional partners, will host a series of innovation showcases and bioscience networking events for regional entrepreneurs, experts, investors and other stakeholders to strengthen the bioscience innovation and collaboration ecosystem in greater Los Angeles. Additional partners include: the County of Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles, LA BioMed, the Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative (PBC), Cal Poly Pomona, Caltech, UCLA, USC, City of Hope, LA Bioscience Hub, LabLaunch, Biotech Connection LA, Grifols Biologicals, Molecular GPS, Inc., C3 Jian, Inc., Hatch, and Synova Life Sciences, Inc.

“With this grant, LABioStart will help build the human capital for Los Angeles to create the bioscience industry jobs that will drive long-term economic growth,” said Cal State LA Executive Vice President Jose A. Gomez, who chairs the LA BioSpace Advisory Board. “Cal State LA is proud to join our government and private sector partners in this drive to spur innovation, opportunity and economic development for the communities we serve.”

“With our new Biocom L.A. office now well-established, we have exceptional resources to devote to this initiative,” said Liisa Bozinovic, executive director of the Biocom Institute.  “According to feedback from local stakeholders, efforts to support the Los Angeles entrepreneurial community in the life sciences are welcome and needed. This is the first of several efforts for us to partner with local groups to support workforce development, entrepreneur education and STEM, all of which are needed to support the growing life sciences cluster in L.A.”

Said Cal State LA biology professor Howard Xu, who directs the planning and development of the University’s LA BioSpace incubator: “This is a great example of the region’s bioscience stakeholders working in harmony. Cal State LA is extremely grateful to have nearly 20 partners from government, colleges and universities, bioscience companies and other incubator operators in the area.”

LABioStart is a county-wide collaborative effort to address the severe shortage of bioscience executives and managers. It will elevate the capabilities of bioscience entrepreneurs whose startup companies will join local bioscience incubators, such as PBC, LabLaunch and LA BioSpace. LA BioSpace is under construction and expected to open during the 2017-18 academic year.  It is part of an ambitious regional bioscience industry strategy spearheaded by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Substantial support for the construction of the LA BioSpace incubator has come from the County Board of Supervisors, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and the National Rongxiang Xu Foundation.

For further information about the LABioStart project and its programs, send your inquiries to LABioStart@calstatela.eduand/or call 323-343-2188.