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http://www.concordia.ca/content/shared/en/news/main/stories/2017/04/25/district-3-biolab-helps-bring-new-ideas-to-market.html

District 3’s Biolab brings new ideas from concept to market

Concordia’s startup incubator provides budding pan-disciplinary entrepreneurs with vital research and development support
April 25, 2017
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By Khalil Haddad and James Roach

Margaret Magdesian, founder and CEO of ANANDA Devices. | Photo by Brendan Hart Margaret Magdesian, founder and CEO of ANANDA Devices. | Photo by Brendan Hart


Life sciences researchers want to understand and in some cases change the living world, and yet a lack of business savvy can mean their work may never leave the lab.

Enter District 3’s Biolab, a Concordia-based research and innovation hub that helps to move the results of scientific research closer to applications and commercialization.

District 3 supports teams in the life sciences that want to test and/or prototype their ideas to address a societal need. It also provides budding entrepreneurs with access to scientific experts, entrepreneurial coaches and mentors.

The Biolab is also the only wetlab in Montreal freely open to entrepreneurial research teams and start-ups. It provides basic wetlab equipment, such as analytical balances, fumehoods, pH meters, pipettes and electrophoresis equipment, as well as other more specialized equipment, such as PCR machines (used to amplify segments of DNA via the polymerase chain reaction) and microscopes.
 

Biolab manager, Mahzad Sharifahmadian. | Photo by Concordia University Biolab manager, Mahzad Sharifahmadian. | Photo by Concordia University


Mentoring, lab resources and testing space

Margaret Magdesian, founder and CEO of ANANDA Devices, wanted to change lives with her life sciences research, but needed help with the commercialization process.

“I’ve been a scientist all my life,” Magdesian says. “With no entrepreneurial experience, it would have been incredibly difficult for me to move my work from research to market.”

With support from District 3, Magdesian set up ANANDA, a medical device company that improves biomedical research and diagnostics by using micro and nanotechnology to accelerate drug discovery.

In 2016, Magdesian’s work in collaboration with McGill University on rewiring an artificial neuron was recognized by the magazine Québec Science as one of the “10 Discoveries of the Year.”

“District 3 provided me with valuable mentoring, lab resources and space to test my work, and helped me understand the business climate surrounding the commercialization of science. And all of this was free — for which I am incredibly grateful.”
 

Kevin Chen, CEO and co-founder of Hyasynth Bio Kevin Chen, CEO and co-founder of Hyasynth Bio.

Filling a ‘crucial gap’ for new biotech ideas

District 3 also supports Hyasynth Bio, a biotechnology company that develops cultured yeast that mimics the effects of cannabinoids – all without the physical and psychological effects of marijuana.

Kevin Chen, CEO and co-founder of Hyasynth Bio, says that not having access to lab space prevents a lot of biotech startups from even getting started.

“District 3 made that happen for us and is filling that crucial gap for other new ideas in biotechnology, too,” he says. “On top of that, they’re still helping us make connections and grow our network locally and internationally.”


Read more about the Biolab and District 3’s commercialization program.

 



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