LabCentral Ignite to help raise the profile and grow network of MassNextGen Entrepreneurs
Today, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced LabCentral Ignite as the newest sponsor for the MLSC’s Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative (MassNextGen), a competitive program for women-led life sciences companies. This new partnership follows the announcement of Mission BioCapital sponsoring the fifth year of the program with a $100,000 award. The fifth round of MassNextGen is currently underway with applications being accepted through this Wednesday, May 18.
“Our ecosystem is emboldened by partners like LabCentral Ignite who continue to lean in to drive equity in the life sciences in the Commonwealth,” said MLSC President and CEO Kenn Turner. “We are grateful to welcome Ignite as our newest partner as they will provide essential support to our MassNextGen entrepreneurs. LabCentral is once again demonstrating its critical role as an anchor institution for our Commonwealth.”
Powered by LabCentral, Ignite is a platform that harnesses community to advance racial and gender equity in the life sciences field. As part of this new partnership, LabCentral Ignite will feature MassNextGen awardees in the LabCentral newsletter and other communication channels, invite entrepreneurs to attend its monthly CEO Roundtable hosted by LabCentral, assist the MLSC in identifying and engaging experienced executive coaches that fit the needs of particular early-stage life sciences entrepreneurs, and partner with the Center on MassNextGen related events and other opportunities.
“As we seek to foster new opportunities in the life sciences industry, the addition of more people with diverse backgrounds, experience and ideas will help accelerate scientific breakthroughs that benefit everyone,” said Gretchen Cook-Anderson, executive director of Ignite. “The years of collaboration and engagement between the MLSC and LabCentral is a cornerstone of our success and this new partnership underscores the importance and value we both place on developing a diverse mix of entrepreneurs, scientists and workers to drive the life sciences industry forward.”
MassNextGen identifies promising women-led life sciences companies and provides critical funding and access to a robust panel of executive coaches. Since inception, the MLSC has deployed more than $1.4 million in funding for women entrepreneurs through MassNextGen with an executive coaching network providing 200-plus hours of coaching. Increasing the number of successful entrepreneurs is in the best interest of the entire life science industry and as such, this initiative is a public-private partnership between the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Sanofi, King Street Properties, Johnson and Johnson Innovation, Mintz, and the initiative’s initial corporate sponsor, Takeda.
Now with 21 companies in its portfolio, MassNextGen continues toward its goal of shifting the paradigm to build a diverse ecosystem with equal representation. As MassNextGen Entrepreneurs and their respective teams work toward new innovative therapeutics and products for patients, MLSC funding and executive coaching have proven invaluable for these women entrepreneurs in building their teams and progressing forward with new opportunities. Five companies have raised a Seed or Series A financing round. In total, MassNextGen companies have raised more than $30.7 million in follow on funding.
MassNextGen is a five-year, $2 million commitment to foster greater gender parity in the next generation of life science entrepreneurs. Each year, following a competitive program, the MLSC awards women-led, early-stage life science companies a yearlong customized package of support, which includes non-dilutive grant funding and access to a network of seasoned executive coaches from the life sciences ecosystem to refine their business strategies and help increase the effectiveness of efforts to raise capital.
About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an economic development investment agency dedicated to supporting the growth and development of the life sciences in Massachusetts, home to the most verdant and productive life sciences ecosystem in the world. Through public-private funding initiatives, the MLSC supports innovation, research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing activities in the fields of biopharma, medical device, diagnostics and digital health. Since its creation in 2007, the MLSC has strategically deployed more than $850 million in Massachusetts, through a combination of grants, loans, capital infrastructure investments, tax incentives and workforce programs. These investments have created thousands of jobs and propelled the development of new therapies, devices and scientific advancements that are improving patient health and well-being in Massachusetts and beyond.
About LabCentral Ignite
The growing Ignite platform is dedicated to developing equity, inclusion, and opportunity within the life sciences field. Through a range of equity-driven programs and a growing member network of industry, startups, higher education, and nonprofits, Ignite connects underrepresented students, talent and innovators to academic, technical skills-building, mentoring, job placement, and board and leadership preparation opportunities that fuel biotech diversity and inclusively transform careers.
A private, non-profit institution, LabCentral was founded in 2013 as a launchpad for high potential life-sciences and biotech startups. Operating a total of 225,000 square-feet in the heart of Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass., LabCentral offers fully permitted laboratory and office space for as many as 100 startups comprising approximately 1000 scientists and entrepreneurs. More information is available at www.labcentral.org.