Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Chicago-based VC firm provides lab space to support university-based biotech start-ups

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: March 29th, 2023

A Chicago-based VC firm wants to make it easier for university researchers to launch their own biotech start-ups, so it’s offering not only cash but the specialized space needed for fledgling companies.

Portal Innovations offers specialized and fully funded lab space to start-ups that would otherwise struggle to find it. Two years into its operation, the lab is at full capacity with 32 start-ups, 12 of which have received funding from the firm.

“I founded Portal Innovations really to address emerging needs for life sciences companies, particularly in ecosystems, like Chicago, that don’t yet have the infrastructure and community to support a growing life sciences community emerging from our research institutions,” says Portal’s CEO, John Flavin.

“Our core focus is selecting companies based on a venture model,” adds Flavin. “So we’re doing deep diligence to ultimately arrive at an investment decision with conviction around companies that we’re bringing into the space.”

Portal Innovations is getting ready to take its model beyond Chicago with plans for a second facility in Atlanta.

“We believe there’s an unmet and underserved market, but all the characteristics that exist in Chicago — large numbers of NIH grants that are funding researchers — also exist at Georgia Tech, at Emory, Morehouse School of Medicine, at UGA,” Flavin says. “They need the know-how to build biotechnology companies beyond getting the science right.”

Source: TechCrunch

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