Kalamazoo Life Sciences Incubator Adds Short-Term Lab Space For Startups

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The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, run by Southwest Michigan First.

The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, run by Southwest Michigan First.

KALAMAZOO — The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center has unveiled a new resource for life science startups.

Called Launch MI Lab, it’s a fully equipped and staffed bioscience laboratory to help startups get off the ground.

Launch MI Lab provides more than 2,300 square feet of secure wet lab space, access to sophisticated scientific equipment, and an array of analytical services and expertise.

Each client will have personal bench space and a work station with high-speed Internet access and telephone service, use of conference and café facilities, and free parking. Available equipment includes mass spectrometry systems, centrifuges, autoclaves, flow cytometers, a variety of microscopes, an incubator, cold storage, and standard lab supplies and tools.

The lab will be managed by SMIC laboratory manager Greg Cavey, who will offer information and basic training on use of the equipment and guidance on experimental design. Cavey has more than 20 years of experience in proteomics, mass spectrometry and lab management for pharmaceutical companies and the Van Andel Research Institute. He also provides mass spectrometry services and counsel for clients at SMIC as well as for local, regional and national research companies and universities and colleges.

SMIC has received $400,000 from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to continue current services in mass spectrometry and to implement specialized histology services. The money is also paying for Web site development and other marketing efforts.

“Several incubators have equipment rooms, but they don’t have someone there to train on equipment and provide connections to funding and scientific experts,” Cavey said.

Monthly rent for a single seat in the lab will start at about $800, Cavey said, but shorter terms are available — “We can do very short term, even daily or hourly.”

SMIC CEO Robert DeWit noted that “Life science entrepreneurs need affordable lab space and equipment to test their ideas, generate support and build momentum. Launch MI Lab offers a place for startups to begin that journey.”

Besides the MEDC, other supporters of Launch MI Lab are the city of Kalamazoo; Kalamazoo County; Southwest Michigan First; the managing directors of SMIC; and Western Michigan University.

More information, including images of the lab, details on equipment and services, and contact information is available online at www.launchmilab.com.

The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center is a 69,000-square-foot business incubator and accelerator providing a comprehensive range of support and assistance to nurture the formation, survival, and growth of innovative, entrepreneurial life science businesses. SMIC opened its doors in 2003.  The Innovation Center is located in Western Michigan University’s Business Technology & Research Park, a state-designated SmartZone. More at www.kazoosmic.com.

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