The city of Boston remains top dog when it comes to biotechnology and scientific innovation, beating out longtime biotech powerhouses like San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, D.C. With more than $5B in venture capital invested in Massachusetts-based life sciences startups in the first half of this year, the sector is in the midst of rapid expansion, and the need for lab space is paramount.xa
Mispro Biotech Services, one of the area’s leading contract vivarium — or turnkey animal research facility — providers, aims to bring its services to more Massachusetts-based clients to help them innovate faster and more cost-effectively.
Mispro offers access to research space and supporting services to life science startups, midsized companies and established biotech firms for their preclinical in vivo drug development studies. The firm's business model enables scientists to conduct these specialized studies for a fraction of the funds traditionally needed to carry out such research trials.
“The contract vivarium model is an in vivo biotech incubator that enables our clients to control their studies as if they were conducting them in their own labs, but without investing the capital and operational costs of building a vivarium,” said Yohan Tessier, vice president of commercial operations and strategic development at Mispro. “For an all-inclusive monthly fee, our clients can rent a fully equipped and staffed lab space to conduct their own studies, which is an extremely valuable asset in today’s biotech market.”
Started in 2003 in Montreal, Mispro expanded to the U.S. in 2010 and now has nine locations in biotech hubs across the country, with two currently under construction
Biotech companies across the country are becoming increasingly interested in the contract vivarium model, recognizing it as a key component to advancing discovery through preclinical animal research trials, whether it's for oncology, neurology, immunology or other fields of medical research. But because of the hefty costs and the time-consuming nature of outsourcing research or building a vivarium for preclinical drug research trials, in-house vivarium research was a luxury enjoyed mostly by the largest and most well-funded biotech and biopharma companies.
Due to the pandemic, however, a sudden surge of venture capital investment is ushering in a vast expansion of the industry, Tessier said.
“The pandemic has propelled the life sciences industry in Boston and the greater Massachusetts area, and demand for CVs has all of a sudden gone through the roof,” he said. “In 2021, the industry saw a large increase in VC funding, but now we’re seeing this cool off a bit as investment hesitancy becomes more prevalent in today’s market.”
Tessier said while this slight slowdown of capital funding is affecting the majority of biotech companies in the U.S, Mispro is still experiencing continuous growth in Boston and beyond. This is because Mispro’s clients are pursuing “innovative, cutting-edge and advanced science, which is still experiencing strong funding,” he said.
When it comes to in vivo studies, biotech companies are looking for options that allow for quick results that are also cost-effective, Tessier said. Therefore, the contract vivarium model that Mispro offers is designed with convenience and accessibility in mind. With locations in Kendall Square, Alewife, Waltham and the Seaport, the company is strategically located in the heart of several biotech hubs across metro Boston and Cambridge.
“As long as there are biotech companies setting up headquarters in close to proximity to each other in areas of the city or emerging life sciences hubs across the state, Mispro will keep setting up our facilities in those clusters,” he said. “We’ve found success across the nation because we help attract companies to new life sciences campuses, with our state-of-the-art private or shared vivarium spaces offering an attractive amenity that complements traditional lab and office space .”
Despite the advantages to Mispro’s vivarium model, there are some challenges that the company faces with its facilities — the cost of tenant improvements being a major hurdle, Tessier said.
The needs of each tenant are unique based on the studies they’re conducting, which evolve over time. In response, Mispro helps its clients customize their space to support their needs without disturbing the entire building ecosystem.
“While the cost of tenant improvement is always a factor in our planning, it’s equally important to us to work with the right landlord that aligns with our mission to deliver best-in-class research facilities,” he said.
As the contract vivarium model gains momentum in the life sciences industry, Tessier remains confident that Mispro will continue to see expansion and cutting-edge biotech discoveries in its contract vivarium spaces.
“Boston will remain a national leader in the life science industry for years to come," he said. "We are excited to see our contract vivarium model grow alongside some of the most innovative biotech and biopharma companies in the city and beyond."
This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Mispro. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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