A life sciences incubator formerly run by Montgomery County is now being managed by a public-private partnership that focuses on helping central Maryland scientists and bio-health startups bring their ideas to market.
Rockville-based BioHealth Innovation Inc. at the start of October began managing the Germantown Innovation Center, which is part of the Pinkey Innovation Complex for Science and Technology at Montgomery College’s Germantown campus.
BioHealth will lead management, programming and entrepreneurial support at the center and will be responsible for recruiting new companies for the 32,000-square-foot site, which features 11 laboratories equipped for proper handling of wet or gaseous materials.
Montgomery County is a lead founder of BioHealth Innovation, noted Rich Bendis, the organization’s president and CEO. “This decision to have our organization manage and lead the GIC further demonstrates Montgomery County’s dedication to (BioHealth’s) mission and ever-growing partnership,” Bendis said in a statement.
The labs in Germantown have “lots of sophisticated equipment that pharmaceutical and biotech companies need,” Bendis said. The incubator also has two clean rooms, 45 offices, shared office equipment and meeting spaces and access to business, legal, accounting and other services.
As of Monday, more than 90 percent of the space in the incubator is leased to 19 companies located there. An additional five companies use some of the incubator’s services as virtual tenants of the incubator, which opened in 2007.
The Rockville organization will use its network in the bio-health industry and regional service providers to support businesses at the incubator; Bendis cited BioHealth’s five “entrepreneurs-in-residence,” who can provide expertise to new companies, as one example of that support.
Montgomery College plans to focus on developing the innovation center as an economic engine. Companies that use the incubator will have access to the college’s biotechnology faculty and staff, equipment and courses.
“This collaboration is the start of a partnership that we believe will continue to set our region apart,” Montgomery College’s Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Sanjay Rai said in a statement.
Previously, the Germantown Innovation Center was managed by Montgomery County’s Department of Economic Development, which was replaced in July by another public-private partnership, the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp., also based in Germantown.
BioHealth was chosen for the two-year contract by the Maryland Economic Development Corp., which acted as Montgomery County’s agent. Terms weren’t disclosed, but Bendis said the contract was structured to guarantee that BioHealth would not lose money; BioHealth may end up with a a small profit.