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he believes there’s potential to find more promising companies by having satellite offices in other areas that are staffed with people skilled in business development, operations, and science. “You could have more ears on the ground,” to find ideas for new companies, Weissman says, while leaning on the Seattle headquarters more for administrative work, to keep costs down.
Weissman is frequently asked to describe the Accelerator model to economic development types from various regions of the world, who are all looking to spark growth of the biotech industry, usually with limited success. Weissman didn’t name any other locations Accelerator is considering other than New York. He also didn’t say whether any of the regions are offering economic incentives to lure Accelerator, although he downplayed government incentives as a factor in expansion plans.
“I think it is largely incompatible with our primary goal to generate returns for our investors because it always comes with constraints and regulations,” Weissman says. The more important thing a place like New York has to offer is proximity to the top researchers and clinicians, he says. Even with that advantage, he says he needs analyze whether that benefit is worth the the higher cost of doing business in Manhattan.
As Accelerator has floated the basics of this idea to some potential investors, the response has been mixed. Some people have said they love it, while other VCs have said it sounds similar to what they already do, Weissman says.
If Accelerator does build a national or international model, it won’t come at the expense of the company’s Seattle operation, Weissman says. “We won’t do it if it looks like it will diminish Seattle,” he says.