Bayer Crop Science Lab Space Opens to Entrepreneurs

West Sacramento Facility To Be Tech Incubator

Check out more in this article from the Sacramento Business Journal

Bayer AG’s Crop Science division will open up a collaborative laboratory space at its campus in West Sacramento to help local efforts to incubate technology startups.

The space that Bayer will offer will be a so-called wet laboratory space. Such facilities are often necessary for research in fields ranging from agriculture and genetics to pharmacy and medicine, and there is little of it available in the Sacramento region other than at University of California Davis and in companies’ private facilities, said Dushyant Pathak, associate vice chancellor for technology management at UC Davis.

The new Bayer CoLaboratory will be about 3,000 square feet, enough space for up to 10 researchers, said Jonathan Margolis, site manager for Bayer Crop Science in West Sacramento.

He anticipates that will be large enough to host three companies at a time, the first of which will move in at the end of this year. The space will also have offices, conference rooms and video conferencing.

“It will be relatively standard, but very high quality,” Margolis said.

Bayer (OTC: BAYRY) is a German-based, multinational pharmaceutical, chemical and agricultural company. Its Crop Science division’s West Sacramento facility conducts research into biologic controls, which are seen as the future for combating agricultural pests because they pose fewer health and environmental risks than chemical pesticides.

The Bayer campus in West Sacramento includes an office, multiple testing labsand manufacturing areas in a 160,000-square-foot main building. The company also has a separate lab, greenhouses and 5 acres of test fields nearby in the same office park.

Wet lab space is rare in part because it is expensive to set up and maintain. The Bayer CoLaboratory will have infrastructure including chemical safety hoods; chemical storage cabinets; disposal equipment for chemicals and biological waste, which requires numerous environmental permits; and several extremely cold freezers, Margolis said.

This will be Bayer’s third CoLaboratory worldwide. In San Francisco’s Mission Bay district, the company has a colaboratory for startups focused on biotechnology and bio-pharmacueticals. In Berlin, Bayer has a colaboratory for pharmaceutical research.

Bayer is not the first Sacramento area agricultural technology company to launch such an initiative. In 2015, seed company HM Clause began offering access to 3,100 square feet of laboratory space as an incubator for startups, in conjunction with UC Davis.

That program has been a success, Pathak said, and the university recently signed a new five-year lease to keep the operation going. UC Davis’ Venture Catalyst program vets companies for the HM Clause incubator, which currently has eight companies using the facilities, Pathak said.

He hopes to work with Bayer on its new West Sacramento lab as well.

Bayer will vet the companies for its West Sacramento CoLaboratory, Margolis said. He anticipates interest from companies from across the country to work at the lab because of the cluster of biologic companies and other agriculture technologies locally and associated with UC Davis.

“I really see this as a sign of the region coming into its own. We can be a site not just for relocations, but we can build a pipeline of startup companies,” Pathak said.

The space will become available starting in December 2017 and applications can be obtained by emailing colaborator.westsac@bayer.com.

 
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