New Carlsbad “Germinator” Opens for Startups as DIY Biology Blooms

7/9/13Follow @bvbigelow

As an activist and founder of the Bay Area’s annual Open Science Summit, Joseph Jackson posed an intriguing question on Xconomy a few years ago: “Can a generation of “DIY” biology hobbyists help kickstart a new biotech revolution the way the home brew computer club did for personal computing?”

Jackson answered his own question a year later as a co-founder of BioCurious, a “hackerspace” in Sunnyvale, CA, intended as a community biotechnology lab for inventors, entrepreneurs, and others who believe that innovation should be accessible, affordable, and open to everyone. Now Jackson has partnered with Kevin Lustig, CEO of San Diego’s Assay Depot, to establish “Bio, Tech, & Beyond,” a community biotech lab in Carlsbad, CA, about 34 miles north of downtown San Diego. It’s holding an open house Friday.

While the community lab is open to all users, including students, Lustig and Jackson say they’re encouraged by the number of professional biotech researchers (“with day jobs”) who have expressed strong interest in leasing a lab bench to carry out experiments on their own time.

Scientists who make an important discovery in their regular job typically cede the intellectual property rights to their employer, whether they’re at a university or a research institute. While a scientist could set up a garage lab at home, federal biomedical funding agencies are often reluctant to award research grants to individuals in such circumstances.

As a result, “we’re seeing a lot of latent or pent-up demand among people who are post-docs and who want to … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • Gaby Dow

    Great article Bruce, I’m at a StartupCircle meeting as I write this (Joe Jackson is the featured speaker) and your article came up as a discussion point!

    All of the entrepreneurs here are very excited about the democratization of biotech and the innovation it will unlock. It is also exciting that this is possible due to the City of Carlsbad’s vision and understanding that these startup hubs need to be fostered and supported with long-term vision.