|West Michigan Science & Technology Initiative Develops Incubator Labs for Medical Device Startups|
December 17, 2009/Rapid Growth
By: Deborah Johnson Wood
The West Michigan Science &Technology Initiative recently leased 6,500 square feet of laboratory space to expand its Venture Center incubator, and half of that space is dedicated to medical device development.
WMSTI seized the opportunity to develop lab space at 1345 Monroe NW, space vacated by Spectrum Health's diagnostic laboratory when it relocated to the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion. New incubator tenants will have access to individual labs ranging from 300 to 1,500 square feet.
"We're sort of establishing sub units that have individual doors and security, and that will help residents maintain confidentiality of product development and make their space their own," says Linda Chamberlain, executive director.
"We've been talking to companies about how to set up the space for medical device development. Residents will have everything they need to take a product from development to producing the prototype, and we're now showing the space to several interested parties."
WMSTI bases lab lease rates on a sliding scale. Participating companies must agree to remain in Kent County after leaving the incubator.
Besides access to expensive testing equipment many startups can't afford, tenants will have access to WMSTI's virtual company alliance, which includes experts in business law, intellectual property law and marketing services.
"We view incubation as a community asset, and want to help develop businesses that are growing up and growing out and creating jobs, and businesses that are a value to our community," Chamberlain says.
According to information supplied by the WMSTI, since 2003 the original Venture Center in Grand Valley State University's Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences has housed 12 companies, created 650 high-technology jobs in West Michigan and generated over $100 million in investment.
Source: Linda Chamberlain, West Michigan Science & Technology Initiative; David Buckalew, Rebecca Howe, Lambert Edwards & Associates