Published Aug 09, 2021 by Maggie Martin
Houston's robust life sciences ecosystem is about to welcome a new coworking space for early-stage biotech startups.
K2bio will offer experienced biotech research managers, staff and other resources in a state-of-the-art facility just south of the 610 loop, including a mix of shared and private research laboratory spaces. The facility officially opens in September.
We talked with Kieron Jones, co-founder, CEO and president of K2bio, about the new space and its role in Houston's broader life sciences ecosystem.
What services and resources do you offer these early-stage companies?
As biotech companies grow and expand their research and development activities, we offer them a place to establish the roots of their companies by providing office and conferencing space and private and communal wet lab capacity. In addition, we offer preclinical contract research assistance such as laboratory services (including designs, analysis, assistance, training, and data evaluation), in vivo support, and analytical development (such as assay development). We also offer consultants in a wide array of functions and funding opportunities for select licensees. We plan to expand our service offerings as biotech companies move their drug candidates from preclinical into clinical trials. The expanded offerings include process development and manufacturing.
What are these startups' most significant needs in the Houston market?
Capital, research and development resources, and wet lab space to refine their science. K2bio offers a unique solution for each. Our facility provides a fully equipped, ready-to-use location. Our staff assists in alleviating some of the strain for additional full-time employees. Our upcoming funding arm allows promising companies within our network access to funding.
Tell us about your onsite vivarium model. Why did you choose this particular concept?
Our in vivo services/facility are accessible to our onsite licensees and has dedicated space to operate contracted programs to support all companies outside of our network. We felt this was an important aspect for us to be more of an asset to our licensees and supporting environment. This allows us to be more of a resource to the Texas ecosystem as a whole. It is fully staffed with over 50 years of experienced personnel, and we have begun the process for our AAALAC accreditation.
Your facility is just a few miles away from the Texas Medical Center. How are you partnering – or working with - with TMC?
It has always been one of our primary goals to align with the TMC. While we are heavily focused on refining our facility and services, we know how critical they are to the health and science community in Houston. We support their mission and hope to be working closely with them soon.
How does K2bio play a part in the region's broader efforts to advance Houston as the Third Coast for Life Sciences?
Aside from being a bridge between academic and manufacturing environments and providing early-stage companies an opportunity to grow with reduced initial expenses and timelines, we envision a training component to support the growth and saturation of the local resource pool. We hope to assist companies in developing their products and their scientists by offering QA and training support in preparation for their next steps. As the product life cycle advances from preclinical to clinical, we want to educate and prepare these companies. The expectation would be that with reduced capital expenses for growth, more local contract services and a larger talent pool, companies will be more inclined to relocate to or stay in Houston.
Learn more about Houston's life sciences and biotechnology sectors.