Growing biotech ecosystem in Southern Germany with BioLabs launch in Heidelberg (Sponsored)

BioLabs Heidelberg
Credit: Tobias Dittmer/BioRN

The launch of BioLabs Heidelberg marks a new addition to the Rhine-Neckar region of Germany, a dominant part of southern Germany’s life-science industry hub. US-based BioLabs will open its first European BioLabs site in the Heidelberg Innovation Park in a pioneering project spearheaded by BioRN, and supported by the city of Heidelberg. 

With a mission statement to provide a fully equipped ecosystem for young biotech startups, BioLabs Heidelberg will be the first of its kind in Europe. The vision behind the launch is to be a catalyst for growth and create a culture of entrepreneurship by reducing the initial risk for biotech startups and their investors. 

The project will nurture startup culture in the area, will increase market-oriented research, stimulate translational activity and nurture an efficient co-working culture. BioLabs Heidelberg will provide start-up companies with a perfectly managed environment in which they can grow fast, removing one of the core obstacles of biotech startups – the money and resources for a fully equipped lab. 

BioLabs, founded in the US in 2010 by CEO and founder Johannes Frühauf,  is a membership-based network of shared lab facilities, with key locations in biotech innovation hubs and clusters. BioLabs offers coworking environments equipped with fully supported labs, office spaces, event spaces that have unparalleled access to capital and industry partners. 

The company advocates a forward-looking culture of entrepreneurship and promotes the creation of networks and cooperation between companies of varying sizes on a global and local scale. BioLabs, therefore, cultivates fertile, supportive ecosystems that help to bridge that gap between biotech research and commercial success. 

“BioLabs will provide young life-science enterprises with exactly the environment they need in order to make their products and innovations a success. This is an offer that fits perfectly to Heidelberg as a centre of excellent research”, stated Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner, Mayor of City of Heidelberg.

The launch of BioLabs in Heidelberg is operated in conjunction with BioRN, ​​the life-science cluster of the Rhine-Neckar region, and is strongly supported by the City of Heidelberg. As a non-profit network, BioRN has the vision to develop this region of Germany into a world-leading life science cluster attracting international investments and top global talent. With the launch of BioLabs Heidelberg not only will European startups have access to the BioRN cluster network, but can also benefit from BioLabs networking and mentorship programmes. 

“Together, we will create an environment that will foster significant advances in cutting-edge research, start-up creation and innovation. I am convinced that BioLabs will have an important part in it”, said Theresia Bauer, Minister of Science, Research and Arts of Baden-Württemberg.

The BioLabs Heidelberg launch has generated a lot of excitement and interest. Already it is in the favourable position of having significant names in the partnership and sponsorship lineup.  

Boehringer Ingelheim is a partner of BioLabs Heidelberg and provided the Founding Sponsorship. With a three year agreement signed in 2020, with the potential for an additional two-year extension, the ​​sponsorship is part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s unique “Grass Roots” program aiming at connecting the company with entrepreneurs and facilitating information sharing and open dialogue. Boehringer Ingelheim will be offering ‘Golden Tickets’ to the companies once per year, which will cover the cost of one lab bench for one year.

An additional Gold Sponsor for this exciting new development to the European biotech scene is Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company. With a five-year sponsorship agreement, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany will not only support incubator operations but also provide expertise and offer guidance to young entrepreneurs.

Also announcing a strategic partnership with Gold Sponsorship is the drug manufacturing company, Lilly. Since 2017, the long-standing company has been a constant and key sponsor of BioLabs. This partnership reaffirmed their commitment to continue to support BioLabs and the development of innovative entrepreneurial ecosystems globally. 

AbbVie, both a member of BioRN and a sponsor of BioLabs Global, has also been announced as a Gold Sponsor of BioLabs Heidelberg, and they recently signed a three-year strategic partnership. AbbVie will offer entrepreneurs-in-residence at BioLabs Heidelberg the opportunity to receive guidance and leverage their experience in translating innovative science into novel therapeutics to improve the lives of patients. AbbVie will also be offering a ‘Golden Ticket’ to select startups once per year.

“So many companies joining Biolabs Heidelberg as major sponsors demonstrates their long-term commitment to the development of the Rhine-Neckar innovation hub and lays the foundation for longstanding partnerships, connecting the region’s growing biotech start-up ecosystem to the worldwide biotech community. It also further validates the need for the co-working concept to support entrepreneurs in Heidelberg.” said Julia Schaft, managing director at BioRN.

BioLabs Heidelberg will therefore create an ecosystem of biotech creation and startup development. Through the various partnerships and collaborations between BioLabs, BioRN and other biotech companies, this launch is a truly groundbreaking opportunity for European innovation. 

Johannes Frühauf commented: “The entire BioLabs Global team and I are delighted to be joining this dynamic ecosystem, a leading centre for biotech innovation and entrepreneurship in Germany”.