Discovery Park partners with Canterbury Christ Church University to open CoLab

Discovery Park, Kent’s thriving life science community, has opened the doors to CoLab, a new shared lab facility. In partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University, CoLab has been specially designed for early-stage life science businesses, providing flexible bench space in a collaborative coworking environment.

Dr Cornelia Wilson, Senior Lecturer and Academic Laboratory Director at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “Finding lab space is too often a blocker for promising life science spin outs and startups, and CoLab exists to solve this. This specialist lab offers flexible and cost-effective space in a collaborative environment, with a dedicated lab technician onsite to provide expert advice and remove the stress of lab management.”

The three first tenants who have moved in CoLab include:

  • RS & RS Scientific, who are focused on new innovative molecular strategies in the field of cancer research, aiming to improve understanding and manipulation of complex tumours to pave the way for more effective and personalised cancer therapies.
  • BioFlares, a specialist in bioluminescence imaging tools and solutions to allow complex genetic information to be viewed using bright molecules, with applications in cancer research, gene therapy and stem cell research.
  • Phlow, a start-up revolutionising menstrual hygiene management with a biodegradable, non-plastic flushable period pad, using cellulose.
CoLab tenants benefit from being located at Discovery Park, a thriving life science community with an on-site Barclays Eagle Lab, giving access to free business mentoring and investor connections. Discovery Park also has an onsite innovation team and its own investment fund, Discovery Park Ventures.

Reza Salimi, Co-Founder at RS & RS Scientific and CoLab tenant: “We're excited to join the thriving life science and tech hub of Discovery Park. Being based at the CoLab provides us with invaluable opportunities for collaboration and business support. The Discovery Park team members are very supportive, enhancing our experience and helping us grow. The location in Kent also means we are close to both Europe and London, allowing us access to everything we need and to expand into future markets."

Renos Savva, Head of Innovation at Discovery Park, said: “CoLab provides tailored space and resources for emerging life science businesses, but importantly also a network of like-minded innovators. This latest industry-academia partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University demonstrates how Discovery Park provides a community for visionary entrepreneurs and leaders, and the ideal environment for businesses to start, scale and succeed.”

Discovery Park is offering up to 6 months free membership to CoLab for eligible businesses. With flexible terms, life science businesses can rent a single bench space for up to two people within a state-of-the-art CAT 2 lab, plus access to a write-up desk. CoLab has an experienced lab technician on hand as well as access to a diverse range of specialist equipment, enabling companies to more easily scale and develop without the need for heavy capital investment. CoLab equipment includes microfuges, autoclaves, fume cupboards, incubators, cell culture facilities, protein and DNA electrophoresis.

CoLab companies can also access more extensive or specialist state-of-the-art technology at Canterbury Christ Church University’s main campus in Canterbury, Kent. The University has a team of industry-leading experts to support businesses, from undertaking component analysis to providing a comprehensive package of analytical and technical support. The University has simplified the process for CoLab businesses to access their experts, ensuring rapid delivery, precision and complete confidentiality.

Finding lab space is a key challenge for new life science companies. In London, available lab space makes up less than 25% of current demand, with the capital seeing a 61% increase year-on-year in new company incorporations.

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