Ellsworth’s haven for startups is looking for ‘the next IDEXX’

Christine Soto, a New York native and graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia, worked 15 years for various companies in the research and development. But she was interested in focusing on the development of novel antibodies for strains of bacteria and virus that didn’t receive much mainstream attention, like Lassa virus and meningitis. So she decided to go out on her own.

Finding it difficult and expensive to set up her own lab space in conventional settings like established biological firms, Soto discovered the innovation center through a web search. “I just needed a small incubator so I could bootstrap my company,” she says. “I came here, it was beautiful, I loved it. Everyone knew what an incubator was. So when I went in, it was very nurturing.”

That’s exactly what Union River Center for Innovation’s organizers were aiming for.

“It’s kind of like with kids. You raise them until they’re mature enough to go out on their own,” says John Fitzpatrick, who is Jackson Laboratory’s senior director of facilities and chairs the Ellsworth Business Development Corp. Fitzpatrick is also on the innovation center’s board and heads up its selection committee. “The doors are always open and, in a good way, folks are hearing what others have going on to build off ideas, and even offer assistance with something as simple as, ‘Do you need help taking stuff to your car?’ Competition’s great, but collaboration’s better,” he says. Other entrepreneurs agree with that take. Read the full story here.

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