Biotech in 2015 sounds a lot like IT in 1999

Should biotech startups outsource costly lab work or build the expertise in house?

Brooklyn Army Terminal

By Flickr user @aur2899 [Creative Commons].

Biotech startups struggle with access to labs. There’s a hot debate right now, among New York entrepreneurs, about whether startups should use virtual, third-party labs, for the grunt work, or keep it all in house, according to a new story in Fast Company.
It sounds a lot like the debate startups once had, over building all software in house on dedicated servers or cobbling sites together with lots of cloud-based B2B applications and virtual servers. It’s a question that’s largely settled on the digital side.
While much of biotech is playing out in Manhattan, one big site for lab space is at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, which is one of several spots that the NYCEDC has invested in and could be one of the important nodes for the sector here, that is, if it ever gets out of what Fast Company calls its petri dish stage.

On the one hand, investors are increasingly open to the virtualization of biotech companies—indeed, many now require a virtual approach, as a way to better manage costs and risk. At the same time, city-sponsored efforts to build wet lab space in Manhattan and Brooklyn are finally taking off, providing biotech startups with options closer to home than the office parks of New Jersey, Westchester, and farther afield. In effect, both sides of the real estate equation—a reduced need for space and the availability of more space—are evolving in favor of the city’s biotech companies.

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