Innovators Insist – Austin Bioskills Lab & CoWork Space Needed Urgently
With Austin’s life science and medical sectors booming, the question looms: where will companies find quality space to work? With such rapid growth the region demands solutions for startups and mature enterprises alike.
Major Obstacles for Medical & Biotech Companies
One of the biggest hurdles facing emerging medical device and biotech companies is cost. This is because they require an important combination of quality and advanced technology inherent to the field. When ENTvantage Diagnostics was looking for work space, CEO Joe Skraba said, “The costs associated with the space and equipment would have been prohibitively expensive at our stage of development” (ENTvantage newsletter, Fall 2015). That is until they landed a deal at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Skraba continued saying that securing quality lab space “is a major obstacle for early-stage life science companies in the community…”
Overall Demand Increasing for Office Space
The national demand for office space has been ramping up at a clip not seen since before the recession. One of the biggest drivers for this trend is the tech sector especially in Silicon Valley, Silicon Hill (Austin), and Seattle. This additional pressure makes satisfying the local biotech demand even more challenging.
Positive University Response
Programs such as at the University of Texas have responded wonderfully to the needs of several new enterprises. But the demand appears to be outstripping the supply. With the inauguration of Dell Medical School this year more space should become available, but is it enough? Is it the right type of space?
Co-Working – An Innovative Solution
Another option seeing great acceptance in the northeast is the co-work space dedicated specifically to medicine and the life sciences. This niche has allowed many startups with excellent potential to move along the development process much faster. Additionally, co-work spaces don’t require a complex entry process as required by some institutional locations.
Multiple Advantages to CoWorking
Co-working helps companies by sharing costs. But this is a far cry from college student couch-surfing. The best co-work areas are elegant in design. They offer a trendy new generation feel while maintaining the quality lab and technical amenities vital to research and development. But the real asset lies in the people.
The very nature of a co-work space puts top innovators together in a melting pot. While shooting the breeze they develop professional and intellectual ties that can lead to groundbreaking discoveries. Close proximity makes collaboration natural, and problem solving is accomplished at a community level which increases efficiency.
Another chief area of need among many medical device startups is access to a bioskills lab. At the co-work space HeLiX, members have direct access to a state-of-the-art bioskills lab. This streamlines product development and testing to a level that was previously only seen at very select universities. Now top quality resources are available to a much wider audience.
Rising Tide in Medical Innovation
With initiatives like co-working and bioskills labs, the tide will rise for all companies. The overall impact will be lifting the Austin biotech and life science scene to a level that might otherwise never be realized.