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VT CRC Partners with J&J for Foster Biotech

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center is supporting life science startups in the Roanoke and New River valleys through a collaborative effort. The CRC announced a cooperation with Montgomery County, Roanoke, and Carilion Clinic to create new shared lab facilities for smaller life science businesses at the centre in Blacksburg, with the intention of eventually opening a larger facility in Roanoke. It also announced a one-of-a-kind collaboration with Johnson & Johnson.

According to CRC CEO Brett Malone, the $1.1 million project is largely funded by GO Virginia, a statewide economic development initiative, which has awarded the research centre $600,000 toward the project, which will create 25 wet and dry lab spaces in a turnkey facility. The remaining funding will come from the aforementioned partners. He explained that the current experiment will serve as a prototype for the lab that the multijurisdictional organisation plans to construct in Roanoke in the coming years.

Malone stated that the group is looking at a property but did not say where. According to Malone, money for the design and engineering of a similar, but much larger facility in Roanoke has already been secured, but the project’s overall cost has yet to be determined. He and Roanoke’s Economic Development Director, Marc Nelson, also mentioned that, in addition to assisting small businesses, the Roanoke facility would seek to recruit mid-sized businesses to the area, as well as support the area’s ongoing research.

The Blacksburg facility will be unusual in that it will be available for short-term use, with users able to sign up for leases as short as one month, which is something not currently available in the region. He also mentioned that nearly a dozen or more businesses have already expressed interest in this type of shared space.

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