A list of the best Southern California wet lab incubators listed alphabetically and organized by geographical location with a rate guide.
More and more, today’s biomedical innovations are coming from small, startup biotech and medtech companies. These firms are able to make quick decisions and de-risk new technologies. However, without the resources of big pharma, it can be difficult for entrepreneurs to start these companies. Biotech and medtech startups require far more infrastructure and spending than many other industries. The facilities are the largest expense for these startups, as laboratory space is expensive to rent, and even more expensive to build. The solution to this problem has emerged in recent years: wet lab incubators.
The pathway for most biotech companies start with an idea, grows with a business plan, and stalls when trying to access wet lab space. Finding affordable, commercially-available laboratory space is impossible for most biotech entrepreneurs until now. With the rise of wet lab co-working facilities, startups finally have a place to launch and grow their companies. Wet lab co-working facilities provide essential resources for startups such as laboratory infrastructure for technology development, industry experts and mentors, and access to funding. There are many different types of co-working wet lab facilities: local organization that support citizen scientists, incubators that provide space for lease, fee-based services, and accelerators that provide cohort-based investment funding, business development, and industry connections in exchange for equity. Traditionally located in Boston and San Francisco, Southern California now offers biotech innovators a large array of wet lab facilities to fit the needs of biotech start-ups.
Map of Wet Lab Incubators in Southern California
Wet Lab Incubators in Southern California
The following is an unranked list of the best Southern California wet laboratory coworking facilities, listed alphabetically and organized by geographical location. The information presented is gathered from websites and other publicly-available materials that are subject to change frequently. The listing is to provide general information; it does not constitute a complete listing of wet lab facilities nor does it represent a comprehensive description of amenities and services provided by each facility.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY WET LAB INCUBATORS
BioLabs San Diego provides early-stage life science companies scalable wet-lab and office space, shared resources including equipment, EH&S services, on-site scientific and event support, consortium purchasing, capital connections, and mentoring seminars.
“As entrepreneurs and investors ourselves, we have been through this many times and know firsthand the pain-points that startups face. We designed BioLabs San Diego, alongside our Founding Partner, Biocom, to be the premier co-working space for life science startups — a unique place in which to test, develop and grow game changing ideas.”
Bio, Tech, and Beyond (BTNB)’s mission to make it easy to start a science company. This is accomplished in their 6,000 sq ft facility of economically-priced lab space and shared life sciences equipment. Centered in the nation’s second largest life science center, BTNB, with the support of the City of Carlsbad, supports innovators developing their technology with no intellectual property claims.
“By making available many of the tools of modern life science research to anyone who wants to use them, Bio, Tech and Beyond has taken the scientific research process out of the hands of a few massive corporations and large universities and placed it squarely in the hands of anyone with an idea. Whether you’re an academic researcher pursuing a hunch, a cancer patient who wants to cure your own disease, a biotech scientist with a skunkworks project, a retired pharma scientist with an idea you’ve always wanted to test, or a high school student who wants to change the world – Bio, Tech and Beyond can help turn your dream into a reality.”
JLABS San Diego housed within Janssen Research & Development Center in La Jolla is the flagship JLABS site with currently 55 incubating companies and over 68 graduated companies. Amenities include state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, instrumentation training, educational programs, operational support, discounted CRO services, and access to JLABS events and workshops.
“At JLABS, we value great ideas and are passionate about removing obstacles to success to help innovators unleash the potential of their early scientific discoveries. JLABS is a no-strings-attached model, which means entrepreneurs are free to develop their science while holding on to their intellectual property. JLABS also produces campaigns to seek out the best science called QuickFire Challenges.”
ORANGE COUNTY WET LAB INCUBATORS
University Lab Partners, centrally located at UCI Research Park is a state-of-the-art 17,105 sq ft facility providing shared and private wet lab and office space to life science and medical device entrepreneurs. Co-located with UCI Beall Applied Innovation and the SBDC Tech, ULP offers startup companies laboratory and fabrication equipment, capital and mentoring opportunities, and peer-to-peer interactions in an active and growing biotech community. ULP is also unique in that it provides both biotech and medtech lab space. Biologics companies can do their cell culture on one side of the lab, and in another section medical device companies can fabricate prototypes.
“University Lab Partners is an independent, non-profit project of the Beall Family Foundation. It was founded in partnership with the University of California Irvine Beall Applied Innovation. Our open innovation platform enables lifescience & medtech companies to access unique research capabilities and a network of technical, business, and talent resources at an economical cost.”
INLAND EMPIRE WET LABS
Murrieta Genomics – While many wet lab incubators define themselves in broad categories such as biological research, biotech, or medtech, Murrieta Genomics in Murrieta, CA is highly specialized. They focus purely on genomics, providing space and equipment at no cost. Rather than charging companies per bench, Murrieta Genomics admits companies in exchange for equity. They were established in 2017 and have 16,000 square feet in which to house startups. Although they have a narrow technical focus, Murrieta Genomics is open to companies who use genomics technology for a broad range of applications, including, “precision medicine, agriculture, forensics, veterinary and direct to consumer applications.” Murrieta Genomics considers themselves to be “a true incubator, offering dedicated bench space to fledgling companies at basically zero cost, helping them to define their business model and validate their science, and then investing in the companies that “graduate” the incubator.”
MRB Incubator at University of California, Riverside opened in 2019, is a 3,000 sq ft wet lab incubator to support up to 15 companies with life science, agriculture, biotech, and medical technologies. Residents will have access to UCR resources including vivaria, imaging and sequencing core facilities, as well as UCR SBIR Resource Center to assist with submissions for commercialization proposals for non-dilutive funding.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY WET LABS
BATTS Incubator Labs‘ is both a incubator and a vivarium, 10,000 sq ft facility in the San Fernando Valley provides GLP-level pre-clinical study facilities along with standard shared resources including equipment, business development, and extensive consulting in the areas of regulatory, marketing, intellectual property, and capital acquisition.
BATTS says their location is one of their strengths: “We are situated in the valley not too far from companies like Amgen, in Thousand Oaks and other southern California research institutions and companies. You develop your product and we test it for you right there in the same facility and provide you with fastest data and feedback/advice. In addition, we provide technical and business development services and co-working office space to meet your company needs…”
BioLabs at The Lundquist Institute located at The Lundquist Institute in Torrance, offers 18,000 sq. ft of state-of-the-art laboratory and office space, as well as laboratory equipment and consumables. Companies have access to The Lundquist Institute’s core services and resources including large and small animal vivarium and the genomic core facility.
“BioLabs are the premier co-working spaces for life science startups — unique places where you can test, develop and grow your game-changing ideas. As entrepreneurs and investors ourselves, we have firsthand experience with the pain points biotech startups face. Our goal is to change how scientific entrepreneurs do business by building an ecosystem that empowers bioinnovators to grow quickly, while maximizing capital efficiency.”
Center for Training, Technology & Incubation at Cal Poly Pomona (CTTi) accommodates small to midsize companies with 500-7,000 sq ft of laboratory space within their 51,600 sq ft facility. Co-located in Cal Poly Innovation Center, companies can leverage Cal Poly faculty, students, and resources to grow their company.
CNSI- California NANOSystems Institute supports UCLA-affiliated startup companies with access to centralized purchasing, seminars, conference rooms, and core facilities including imaging, clean room, high throughput screening, and electron microscopy.
Hatch located within the LA Bioscience Corridor is a multi-tenant lab and office space for life science companies – it’s the space where biotech and medtech companies can go when they graduate from an incubator. With over 22,000 sq ft of converted warehouse space, emerging bioscience and tech companies have access to lab suites ranging from 1,500 – 20,000 sq ft.
Opening in 2020 on Cal State LA, is LA Biospace Incubator at Rongxiang Xu Bioscience Innovation Center. The 20,000 sq ft incubator will provide bioscience start-ups access to low cost lab space, industry mentors and support services to grow and thrive in the biotech sector.
Lab Launch‘s two locations, Monrovia and Chatsworth, provide over 13,000 sq ft of laboratory and office space with business administration and consulting services. Companies benefit from Lab Launch’s partnerships including CLSA, BenchSci, and Korvalabs.
Our mission is to enable LA’s scientists and entrepreneurs to develop their ideas in affordable, high-quality lab facilities, with access to services and a supportive innovation community to accelerate their success.”Marie Rippen, Lab Launch CEO
Magnify located at the UCLA Court of Science, provides startup companies the infrastructure, facilities, and support to develop their technologies. UCLA-affiliated startups are preferred but Magnify supports life science companies’ need for short term wet-lab and office space.
“Centrally located at UCLA’s Court of Sciences, Magnify strives to enhance the vibrant culture of entrepreneurship at UCLA and the broader Los Angeles region. Featuring flexible co-working laboratory and office spaces, Magnify was built with one goal in mind: to help startups succeed by vastly accelerating their access to facilities while increasing their capital efficiency and market opportunities.”
Oak Crest Institute of Science Though its primary business is not to incubate businesses, but to educate students, Oak Crest Institute of Science (Oak Crest) has an 11,000 square foot facility in Monrovia. Opened to startups in 2019, Oak Crest’s impressive collection of shared equipment would be a benefit to many scientists.
“The Oak Crest Institute of Science is an innovative chemistry and biology research and education center where today’s scientists immerse a diversity of students of all academic levels in high-impact research, cultivating tomorrow’s scientists one individual at a time.”
Momentum Biosciences, founded to keep biotech in Los Angeles, 6,500 sq. ft facility in Culver City provides laboratory space and support for start-up ventures interested in moving their technology from academia to industry.
Pasadena Bio Collaborative Incubator or PBC, as it is also known, is the region’s oldest biotech incubator. The idea for PBC was developed in the early 2000’s, spearheaded by the then-mayor of Pasadena, Bill Bogaard. This developed into a private non-profit organization that was funded in part by the City of Pasadena to encourage local scientists to commercialize their technologies. With 12,600 square feet of space, PBC has grown far beyond the 500 square feet they started with in 2004. PBC provides wet lab and office space, a wide range of shared use equipment, pay-for-use services, and memberships to multiple discounted purchasing programs. Companies have access to interns, pre-apprentices, and lab assistants through Pasadena Bio Training, a program created to foster technical skills and industry experience needed for employment in the biotech sector.
“Pasadena Bio is a non-profit organization focused on economic development and job creation in Southern California. We encourage the growth of an innovative biotechnology industry by providing educational / training opportunities for potential future employees and cost effective incubator facilities with shared equipment / office space for start-up companies.”
VENTURA COUNTY WET LABS
Ventura BioCenter is the only wet lab incubator in Ventura County. It was established in 2012 with 11,000 square feet of space available to early stage companies.
Why Incubate Your Life Science Start-up in Southern California?
With biotech clusters such as Boston and San Francisco already producing biomedical innovations, Southern California is emerging as a biotech and medtech center. For many of those already in SoCal, it’s because they recognize that the area has the building blocks to be an even bigger center of biomedical breakthroughs – and a highly-desirable place to live.
Competitive Talent Pipeline and Leading Research Universities
The Southern California Area contains dozens of leading research colleges and universities. From award-winning community colleges like Pasadena City College to world-renowned schools like University of California, San Diego, these schools collectively produce more biomedical talent than anywhere in the country. The University of California campuses (Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside) and private schools like the University of Southern California and Caltech offer PhD programs that produce high-level scientists early in their careers. Undergraduate institutions educate multitudes of students who can become skilled laboratory technicians and support staff.
Southern California, particularly Los Angeles, has long been recognized as a manufacturing powerhouse. However, as manufacturing at large scale has become cheaper to do overseas, that leaves a wealth of knowledge and infrastructure without product to make. There are many who see this as an opportunity for biotech and medtech to find their manufacturing partners locally.
The final reason many would like Southern California to be the biggest center of biomedical innovation is because it’s a wonderful place to live. Southern California contains a multitude of different living environments, from urban to coastal to mountainous, and has a pleasant climate. Many of the aforementioned students who graduate from local institutions want to stay here, and retaining talent is an economic benefit to the region.
Rate Comparison Guide for Southern California Wet Lab Incubators
The rate comparison is intended as a guide and may not reflect current pricing or offerings as they change frequently. While gathering data, one important thing to note is that each wet lab facility ranged widely in business offerings (such as size of space of private labs) and amenities (concierge services, campus-like offerings like gym access). Solely making a decision based on price should be avoided as the cost of space is only one of the MANY factors that life science start-ups should consider when looking for the best wet lab incubator in Southern California to fit their needs. For specific questions to ask incubators during your selection process, see 5 Must-Ask Questions for Wet Lab Incubators.
|Incubator||Single Bench||Private Lab||Desk||Private Office||Monthly Fee per Person|
|University Lab Partners||$1,950||$5,950+||$295||$1,095+||NA|
|MRB at UCR||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA|
Originally published November 8, 2019, updated June 8, 2020.