The Japanese company will provide $12.5m (€11.3m) to set up a new incubator, alongside five other founding sponsors, to create lab space and a non-good manufacturing practice (GMP) pilot plant in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The funds will go to LabCentral, which will create the new incubator, alongside its existing incubator – Astellas will also invest $450,000 over three years in the latter to become a sponsor.
The principal sum of $12.5m will be used to create an incubator to support start-up companies and ‘entrepreneurial founders’ looking to establish therapies in areas of unmet need, such as the cell and gene space. The incubator is expected to become operational in 2021.
“Accelerating early-stage scientific innovation in areas such as cell and gene therapy is a strategic focus for Astellas, and is superbly aligned with the mission of LabCentral to serve as a launching-pad for cutting-edge biotech and life sciences start-ups,” Kenji Yasukawa, CEO of Astellas.
LabCentral’s existing incubator lab space covers 70,000-square-feet in Cambridge and holds enough space for up to 60 start-up companies. The organization is a private, non-profit and began life in 2013.
In total, the company states that it has invested more than $800m through the acquisition of Massachusetts-based companies and has committed to $500m more through investment, such as through the relocation and redevelopment of the Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Westborough.